Turkey Turkey Trot. A Memoir. 11.8.18 You’re welcome 1139 words Thanksgiving is the only holiday that doesn’t offend anyone. With the exception being the vegans, vegetarians, animal rights people, and Native Americans. But enough about them. The crops are in, the home-grown produce has been pickled, canned, or eaten; the excess has been given away or added to the compost pile. Each one of us has something to be thankful for. Last Thanksgiving, I gave thanks that I didn’t get thrown out of the Publix super market. It was my turn to make Thanksgiving dinner. One of the rules I go by is the KISS menu. Keep it Simple, Stupid. B.O. (Before Organic), most of us ate an old-fashioned dinner with all the beloved foods, that were labeled, trimmings. That meal has been traditional and one we have gobbled through, for the last four centuries of Thanksgivings. We have come to expect, on this one holiday that doesn’t require untangling endless lights or assembling decorations dug up from the basement or garage, comfort food, chock full of cholesterol, chemicals and calories. It is a day for, (or should be) a peaceful family time. Gotta stick to the basics, which everyone anticipates. Turkey, cooking and basted for hours with its own juices, after first being slathered with oil and sprinkled with salt, pepper, and garlic powder, begins giving off an amazing fragrance. When this happens on the third Thursday of each November, that is the proclamation that Thanksgiving has officially begun. Real potatoes mashed with lots of butter and whole milk, is always a guaranteed sellout. What would Turkey Day be without canned sweet potatoes covered with rings of canned pineapple? Each ring, topped off with a Campfire marshmallow, looking obscenely like breasts pushing up through the casserole dish. Canned jellied cranberry sauce, even, after slicing it, doesn’t lose the imprint of the rings from the can they were pushed out of. And the whole -berry one? That never misses to elicit the conversation starter, “Did you make this? Yourself?” Nope. Canned, again. Aunt Gert, always keen to contribute, brings the, sure to be the show -stopping string bean casserole – canned green beans, stirred into Campbells canned cream of mushroom soup, topped with greasy canned onion rings. When did String Bean casserole became a traditional dish to be served only on this holiday? Can you think of another time you eat it? I wonder, did the Indians, sitting at the groaning board with the Pilgrims, look at their squaws, and ask the burning, probing ultimatum. “Why can’t YOU make this?” With all the guests seated, the piece de resistance is carried out, held high like a sacrificial lamb to oooh’s and ahhhs of the waiting gourmands as the browned, roasted bird is laid to rest in front of the host who is impatiently waiting his turn to be top dog. Pepperidge Farm stuffing, piled high in a bowl sits next to the gravy boat. Fingers crossed, I hope the gravy will stay warm enough to not congeal, since it’s made from, mostly, fatty bird drippings. Let the slicing begin! The host, confident, looking to impress the guests embellishes his carving with swashbuckling motions with no idea of my great turkey hunt. My foray into the Publix supermarket started on Tuesday, at 9 p.m. after a long and grueling day reassuring buyers to buy and convincing sellers to sell their real estate. The store was almost empty of other shoppers. Great. I will get through my shopping quickly. I moved, effortlessly, through the aisles, checking off my listed items as I threw them into my grocery cart, finally reaching the refrigerated food section. There, in an upright, glass front freezer, filling the entire compartment, were big birds packed tighter than passengers on a Spirit Airline flight. Upon opening the door, the warm moisture of the store hit the ice-cold carcasses which were encased in form fitting white plastic sheaths. Immediately, these casings began sweating. When I reached in to take a bird out, its skin-tight sleek, wet body bag didn’t have anything to grab onto. It slipped from my hands, onto the floor. I bent down to pick it up. Oh shit! Nooooooo!! The freezer door pushed open wider by the weight of the other turkeys that started tumbling out. I tried forcing the door closed. Being no match for the weight of the frozen birds, I watched, as if in slow motion, they all slid silently, one by one, to the floor. “Hello, anybody home?” I called. Looking up and down the aisle, it was me and eight headless turkeys. I stooped down to pick them up. Weighing in at about twenty pounds each, those wet, white shrink-wrapped corpses kept slipping out of my hands. The harder I tried, even squeezing them to get a grip, the quicker and further they slid away. It was like a the game of Skittles. They silently skidded down the aisle, bumping into one another pushing them further away. At this point, they had skedaddled half way down the aisle. Finally, I landed one and, with difficulty, wrestled it into my cart. I was as sweaty as the turkeys which didn’t help matters. What to do with the others? Show of hands. How many of you have ever tried to wrestle a slick dead pig in wet plastic shrink wrap, pick it up, hold it over your head and stuff it into a front-loading freezer? On top of other pigs? Finally! Success! I got one back in. As I struggled to get another one on top of that one, the bottom one slid down and out. Fuck! I was tired, hungry, and sweaty. When I get tired, hungry and sweaty, I get a runny nose. Rummaging in my handbag I was able to find a used Kleenex. My wet hand shredded the tissue as I tried removing it from my bag. Think! What aisle is the Kleenex on? I started to take my leave of the birds, that were now, able to be legitimately labeled as free range, to look for the paper aisle. I left my cart in place as a collateral offering, validating, with its unspoken message, I was not leaving the scene of the crime; I had every intention of returning. At that moment, a store employee appeared. He looked, with wide eyed disbelief, at the bird covered aisle, and then turned and stared at me, seeing a disheveled, wet, wild eyed woman with a runny nose. Giving himself few seconds to assess the mess, and to compose himself, asked, “May I help you?” After my debacle, turkeys are no longer held captive in upright freezers. They are in open, cold floor bins where one can lift their bird of choice out without having to chase them down an aisle. You’re welcome.

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