Ahhh, November in Ohio!
You people down south are spoiled. My son Ben recently came home to visit from Louisiana and all he did was complain about how cold it was here. Now remember that was in September and the temps were in the 70’s here in the heartland! I just hope it doesn’t ruin him for life. My brother lived in Kentucky for a year a long time ago and he still talks funny!
Seriously, other than I can’t swim or ride the bike as much, the onset of winter doesn’t really bother me. Pinching nickels and dimes to help pay the ever increasing heating costs doesn’t really bother me. Hell, I don’t even mind having to scrape the damn ice off the windshield before I can go anyplace! I find it to be rather invigorating to freeze my...Okay, okay, winter sucks!
But this time of year does bring to mind happy occasions, like sitting around yer dinner table with loved ones as everyone’s mouths are watering over a huge turkey dinner with all the trimmings. At least that’s the way it’s supposed to be, but it sure didn’t turn out that way for me a few years ago.
I have a friend named Bill to whom I used to rent a room. Bill had one of those turkey deep fryers that seems to be all the rage. I’ve had turkeys cooked that way before, so I didn’t protest when he suggested having some friends over for a deep-fried turkey Thanksgiving dinner.
Before the month of November was half over, we got together and realized that between he and I we already had over 20 adults and a handful of kids comin’ to dinner! We decided that figurin’ five adults per turkey, we needed four turkeys, and that would take too long. So I ended up buying another cooker to help out. As we opened the box, Bill reached his arm in , pulled out the instructions and threw ‘em away.
“What the hell did ya do that for?”
“We don’t need ‘em! I’ve been cookin’ lotsa turkeys like this!”
“Ya know, this is gonna cost us some big bucks!”
To which Bill replied, “Don’t worry, I know where we can get ‘em extra cheap! My dad told me where to go. I’ll buy the turkeys!”
So off I went to work, after telling him to put ‘em in the garage ‘cause my freezer was full to bursting.
That night after work (I work afternoons) I came home, took a shower and sat down in my favorite chair as I turned on the tube to relax. When a quiet part of the movie I was watching allowed me to hear a noise in the garage, I walked to the door, turned on the light and peeked in.
I ran upstairs, banged on Bill’s bedroom door screaming, “WHAT THE HELL, YOU DAMNED IDIOT! THERE”S TURKEYS IN THE GARAGE!! THEY’RE CLIMBIN’ ON MY BIKES! THEY’RE GETTIN’ IN MY TOOLS! WHAT IN THE HELL IS WRONG WITH YOU, YOU @#$%!”
“You told me to put ‘em in the garage.”
“I didn’t know they was live turkeys!”
“Chill out! I talked to my dad. He told me how we can kill ‘em!”
“What do you mean we paleface? I ain’t killin’ no damned birds! This ain’t like huntin’. This is mass murder, and I ain’t doin’ it!”
“Then I’ll do it! All you gotta do is hold ‘em down. I chop ‘em, okay?”
“Then they run around ‘til they bleed to death and we throw ‘em in boiling water so we, I mean I, can pull out the feathers. See? No problem.”
The date of the executions was set for Thanksgiving eve and the sun broke bright and warm on this, the last day of the birds’ lives. Bill hit the wrong button on the wall of the garage and the electric door opener allowed one of the birds to escape, so I just relaxed and had a second cup of coffee while he chased it around the back yard.
As I finished, he banged on the door, huffing and puffing, as he said, “Now come out here and hold onto this sucker for a minute!” So I did, and he went into the garage for a bit. Soon he stepped out into the yard.
“Put away the chainsaw Bill.”
“But I couldn’t find an ax. This’ll work.”
“No, Bill, put it away. I don’t have an ax, but there’s a hatchet with the camping gear over top the bench.”
As Bill fetched the hatchet, I swear the bird in my arms seemed to nuzzle against me. His low gobbling seemed to me to sound like the purring of a kitten. By the time he returned I had decided.
“This ain’t gonna happen.”
“What? Why not? We got it together!”
“No, we don’t. Besides, do you realize how much of a mess I’m gonna have in my back yard? I’m gonna have raccoons and skunks hangin’ out here for weeks. We’re gonna set ‘em free.”
“Help me load ‘em into my car.”
So we took ‘em down to the nearest state park and set ‘em free on the beach of a lake. This must’ve been how that lion woman in Born Free felt when she released her lions. My turkeys, however, probably ended up...well, never mind. I can pretend.
A few hours later found us in the local supermarket being confronted by the head of the meat department, a small foreign man with an unusual accent.
“I tohl you we got no steenking turkeys!”
“Just look in the back. Ya must have a few left!”
“Get outta here before I call da cops!”
Anyway, that explains why we served pizza on Thanksgiving that year. I told everyone it was an Italian Thanksgiving, but a smart-mouthed kid spoke up.
“The Pilgrims weren’t Italian!”
“What were they then, wiseass?”
See? Ya learn somethin’ new every day.
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