Thanksgiving Beast

Thankful for yet another wonderful widow’s supper, I leaned back to enjoy my cup of tea. These weekly gatherings for an evening meal had started for me and my daughter after both my husband and son-in-law had died. When my sister’s husband died, she began to join us each week, too. Our being together for this meal as a family is a blessing and a joy.

As my daughter Niki’s four youngest children reached for the novelty ice cream treats my sister had provided, I turned to my daughter and suggested, “How about I buy the roast beast for this year’s Thanksgiving Supper?

Putting the last of the kale salad on her plate, Niki acknowledged my plan to buy the turkey. “That sounds great!”

I questioned, “And what dish would you like me bring, a seven-layer salad, a potato casserole or one of the desserts?”

Niki speared the last, crisp green leaf on her plate with a fork and exclaimed, “I don’t know. I haven’t thought that far ahead yet.”

A week later at the grocery store, I stood examining the frozen turkeys for sale. I wanted a big bird. Someone had once told me the bones of a huge turkey weren’t that much bigger than the bones of a medium turkey. I figured that meant buying a dinosaur-sized turkey was an economically wise move. With fingers quickly going numb from the cold, I strained to lift my choice from the freezer. It landed in my shopping cart with a loud, “clunk!”

While waiting in line at the check-out, I amused myself by composing a haiku; “Gobble-gobble bird. That’s the noise a turkey makes. Family gobbles bird”.

I felt very pleased and creative, because this year I didn’t have to wrestle with a naked, wet-skinned turkey resembling an extraterrestrial creature. That strong-arm feat was my daughter’s responsibility.

That evening while talking to my other daughter, Tammie, I mentioned, “I bought our Thanksgiving beast at the grocery store today.”

 My daughter asked, “You didn’t buy a legendary ‘tur-duck-en’, or tofu turkey, did you?”

Laughing, I reassured Tammie, “No, I just bought a massive turkey for our traditional meal. And just for the record, I’d never buy a tofu turkey!”

Sounding relieved, Tammie said, “Oh, that’s good to hear. Why do you always call the turkey, roast beast?”

“Because,” I explained, “the turkeys I like for Thanksgiving always weigh between nineteen and twenty-three pounds. To get them ready for the oven, I’d have to reach into their cavities up to my elbows. They’re slippery to handle and aren’t a bit helpful when you want to reposition them! You’ve never watched me the night before Thanksgiving to see the struggle.”

My daughter snickered, “Maybe you should have bought a tofu turkey. It would be much easier to prepare.”

Shaking my head, I predicted, “There would be several very disappointed people if we put a tofu turkey on the table!”

Tammie quickly assured me, “Our family is pretty forgiving. There wouldn’t be any big fights over it.”

I answered thoughtfully, “I don’t know about that. But some families have a real Thanksgiving beast at their table in the form of an ongoing squabble between family members. Like a cloud of ill-will hovering over the table, it waits to give everyone indigestion.”

My daughter responded, “I can see that. Then add the oppressive weight of holiday expectations that everything should be magically happy-happy on that day.”

Nodding, I agreed, “Exactly! Some families just never get along very well. They fight over political, religious and child-raising differences. Sometimes the in-laws and the out-laws absolutely hate each other!”

Tammie exclaimed with a sigh, “I am so thankful that we have never had one of those Thanksgiving Day beasts at our table!”


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