I remember it well, it was the Thanksgiving of 1985. It's still being talked about today.
|It was the year of 1985, when our neighbor knocked on the door and presented to me the largest turkey I’ve ever seen. When he handed it over, it was so heavy I almost dropped it. He smiled and came to my rescue.
“Here, let me put it in your fridge.” He carried it with pride, telling me how he raised ten turkeys for Thanksgiving dinner for friends and relatives. We were one of the lucky ten to receive one of these beauties.
“Thank you so much for thinking of us!” I moved stuff around in the fridge, putting items here and there to make room for big bird. My brow furrowed as my thoughts ran wild. How will I make this? Will it fit in my oven? Will it turn out okay?
Dennis, unaware of my hysteria, talked a mile a minute about his turkeys being corn fed. “Just think, Jeannie, this Thanksgiving you’ll have no worries about hormones or steroids!” He still held the bird without breaking a sweat.
I had to admit, that was a plus out of the many minuses running through my brain. When Birdzilla was safely tucked away in the fridge, I smiled at Dennis, thanked him again for his kindness.
“No problem, Happy Thanksgiving!” We hugged good-bye as I also wished him and his family a “Happy Thanksgiving.”
I closed the door, pondering on the obvious. He'll ask me how it tasted, so I have no choice but to bake it. How will I ever get that turkey in my oven!
When my husband, Jim, came home from work, I told him about Dennis’ gift to us. He opened the fridge, and I watched his eyes grow big.
“Wow, when Dennis raises poultry, he goes all out! Good thing it isn’t frozen!”
“I know! You’ll have to get up early with me and help me get that monster in the oven. I figure that four o’clock would be about right to get it done by two o’clock.”
Thanksgiving eve, I set the clock, and climbed into bed. We stayed up later than we should have, and overslept, neither one of us heard the alarm. At six, I jumped out of bed yelling.
"Get up, Jim!"
Half dressed, we raced down the stairs to get the bird ready to stuff into the oven. While Jim washed the bird, I cut up carrots, celery, onions, and apples, preparing the roaster. I opened a can of chicken stock, and pour it into the bottom, then replaced the roasting rack.
After seasoning the turkey, Jim brought the bird to the oven, placed it on the rack and found it didn’t fit. I took the rack out, and we propped it on top of the the vegetables. Boy, did it overflow the pan!
"Dennis shouldn't have fed it so much! How are we going to do this?" I wailed.
Jim decided that I put the pan onto the bottom shelf, he then began balancing the turkey haphazardly onto the roasting pan, and closed the door; only to find it wouldn’t close all the way. He shoved the turkey as far back as it could go and tried shutting the door once more. Success! Relieved, we fell over laughing.
“If that bird gets done by two o’clock, it will be a miracle!” I wiped tears out of my eyes.
Jim helped me up. “Good thing we have a ham to make just in case.”
“I agree! With ten people coming, we don’t want to be stuck without a main course.”
At two o’clock, the table was set beautifully. We had a lovely dinner, but people kept asking about the delightful aroma of turkey swirling throughout the house.
“I laughed and told them the turkey story, how it came to be so big that we had a hard time fitting it into our oven. Everyone wanted to see big bird, and by four o’clock, it was on display for all to see. We checked to see if it was done, and it was. I gave everyone a section to take home with them. Jim and I had leftovers until we couldn't eat any more. I froze the rest of the bird.
The meal wasn’t a complete bust, but this turkey story is still brought up from time to time, a great conversation piece to laugh over. I remember the worry I went through, the effort it took to stuff Birdzilla into the oven, and the clean-up after the bird was taken out. Dennis doesn’t raise turkeys anymore; he’s now raising beef cattle. Big improvement!
Written for: "The Bard's Hall Contest"