Uncle Art and the Giant Turkey

 I posted this story last year and had a request to post it again….so here it is….

Rather than posting a recipe today, I wanted to share a fun Thanksgiving memory with you. Through most of my younger life, Thanksgiving was spent with my family and my Aunt Tillie and Uncle Art’s family. My mother and my Aunt Tillie were sisters. They were as close and loving as sisters could be. We took turns at each others homes, and shared the cooking duties.

There was a friendly rivalry every year to come up with a special dessert or to have a new side dish. The biggest part of this challenge though, was to get a really big turkey. My mother was convinced that a big bird was tastier than two small ones. Aunt Tillie agreed. So every year it was the quest of the host family to score a really large turkey.

My mom and dad would go to the local butcher to order the bird weeks in advance. I am sure Tillie and Art did the same. They always seemed to end up around 25 pounds, give or take. My dad and uncle kept track. Last year was 26 pounds and 4 ounces, but two years before, closer to 27 pounds. I swear, these birds had to be part ostrich.

The ultimate goal was to get a 30 pounder. It had eluded them all, until one year. Uncle Art had found a new guy. A turkey guy, who promised him the 30 pound bird of his dreams. We knew days before the big day, that the really big bird dream was going to happen. Then my mom got a phone call from Aunt Tillie.

My uncle had picked up the beast. He proudly brought it home. He looked at it, lovingly at first. Then he looked again. This was not Uncle Art’s first turkey. He felt something was wrong. Remember, this was something they had all dreamed about finding. Finding it first was cause for bragging rights, for sure. He was convinced that he had been duped, that the bird fell short of its promised weight. He told my aunt about his suspicions and they weighed the bird. It was too big for their kitchen scale, so my uncle weighed himself on the bathroom scale and then weighed himself again, this time holding the turkey.

Uncle Art had been right. He was short at least a couple of pounds of the promised 30 pounds. He went back to the turkey guy, irate. The man was defensive at first, but weighed the bird again. It weighed in somewhere in the area of 28 pounds. The man gave him some money back and lacking a bigger bird, Uncle Art brought it back home.

As I recall it was a perfectly lovely bird, cooked to juicy perfection. To my Uncle Art it was both a failure and a success. On one hand, he had not gotten the 30 pound bird he was hoping for. He did, however, take pride in the fact that he spotted it. That in the world of turkeys, he could see the difference between a 28 pound and a 30 pound bird.

I believe, some years later, a 30 pound bird was found. The story that year, around the Thanksgiving dinner table, was not so much about the 30 pound bird before us, but about the one that nearly was.

I hope you all have a great day, spent with those you love. I also hope you make memories to make you smile, when some of those we love are no longer here. Love and best wishes to all.

Happy Thanksgiving.