Turkey and then there is TUCKEY’S There was about 4 feet of snow on the ground when my husband Arney age 19 went out to shoot a Turkey for Thanksgiving. It had been decided by my Dad that our cousin Ercil and Arney would go up into the hills to find a Wild Turkey with Dad.
My parents along with my Sister Sharon and my Brother Bret lived in a small town just off highway 50 about 7 miles from Placerville, California called Camino. The population was just a little over 200. Everyone knew each other, Our library was the size of a outhouse. And you were on your honor to bring any books that you took home back after reading.
John F. Kennedy was killed this cold November. My Mama was not one to cry but this was such a shock to us all. Mama had been a real fan of this Irish President, and I remember the sick feeling I had as the days went by. You might say our family loved him and trusted this young president and the holidays were not feeling very good, Thankful? Not so much!
Arney and I worked nights at the fruit shed. They had turned the building into a place to sort and pack food for the Army. It was a job, and we were so young. We about froze to death in that building. I don’t think we ever got warm that whole winter. We had no idea that there was a war in our future, we thought this was just a normal thing done all the time for the military.
But my Dad was ready for a feast and a fresh Turkey from the woods would be special, we really needed special. Mama made the best stuffing and gravy. We would have a real old fashioned Thanksgiving. This was Arney and my first holiday together.
We had been married in August, so we were still newly weds.
The three hunters got a 30 or so pound Wild Turkey and they were so proud of themselves for bringing home the center of our Thanksgiving Day.
While we all seemed glued to the little TV set that my Dad would have to go get tubes for all the time. The sounds of drums and the sadness of this loss was heavy on us all. Nothing would ever be the same, it changed us all. The TV was a real winner, the antenna was a wire clothes hanger that Dad had put tin foil on. Often Mama or one of us kids would stand holding this antenna while Dad would adjust the picture, and at one time we had two TV’s, one for picture and the other on top of it for sound…OH My!
Dad and Mama started plucking the Turkey after it got a hot water bath on the back porch. I could hear them talking but didn’t know that something wasn’t right with this Ole Tom…Soon it was announced that the Turkey had mites, a bug that had infested the skin of the Turkey. Remember we lived in a small town and the stores were closed. No Wal-Mart or big Box stores even in Placerville. So it was decided that the Turkey would be skinned!!!! Now this was getting funnier all the time. My Mama did skin it and then stuffed it and baked it. It was not a pretty sight although it did smell wonderful. We all pretended that is was a very perfect bird, and though very dry, you just drank more milk or water and put a lot of Mama’s gravy on it and gave thanks that we were all together. Over the years we would give a giggle about our old fashioned Thanksgiving…one we will always remember because a nation wept and we had a skinned Turkey.
Make a memory, good or bad, we all need a little shaking up to make a memory that lasts forever.
Happy Thanksgiving, Mary