One of the early Thanksgivings in our marriage still stands out to me. Carla and I lived nearly three hours away, so we would go to her parents' home near Huntertown sometime the day before thanksgiving. We would usually make a last-minute run to the store for her mom, and get goodies to help her cook up all the favorites for the big thanksgiving dinner.
One year, Carla's brother said he would supply the turkey. We would have a fresh turkey – a real treat! Most years we bought a frozen turkey like everyone else. Carla would read the instructions, thaw it out, get up early to get it in the oven on time after fighting to pull the giblets out because they were still frozen inside.
I always wanted stuffed turkey, but she always said I was stuffed enough.
Her bother had access to fresh turkeys during his work at the time. He told everyone they would be butchered a few days before. He would bring it up and Carla's mom would refrigerate it. Then Carla and I would help her bake it on Thanksgiving morning.
Fortunately, Carla got inquisitive soon after we arrived on Wednesday and wanted to see what a fresh turkey looked like.
"It looks like a turkey," I told her. OK, maybe I didn't tell her. Maybe I just thought about telling her. I could tell her mom might be thinking the same thing, but I wasn't going to ask.
So she pulled the turkey out of the refrigerator. It was in a big pan with a lid. My mouth began to water, already sensing golden roasted, tender, fresh, never frozen, turkey.
Then she pulled off the lid. We both began to gag at once. The odor was sickening. Someone had left this bird sit out too long without refrigeration somewhere along the way. It was a very ripe 'fresh' turkey.
For whatever reason, her mom didn't think it smelled that bad. It took us a few minutes to convince her she wasn't cooking that turkey. So that year we made a very late-night run to the sore on the night before Thanksgiving, for a very essential item for the menu – the turkey.
The next day I enjoyed golden brown turkey, and frozen turkey never tasted so good!
If there is a moral to this story, it's be careful what you wish for, and have a happy Thanksgiving, even if your turkey spent some time in the deep freeze before becoming that succulent, golden brown entrée in the middle of the table.