All Thanksgiving eve, Mr. Turkey bathed in the kitchen sink. The chosen bird soaked in dim lighting—thawing for his destiny. I like to imagine classical music playing and, for fun, the turkey toting a glass of wine and a monocle.
Then…WHAP! WHAP! WHAP! Early on Thanksgiving morning, my family lined up and smacked that turkey as hard as we could. With red hands and focused faces, our crazy tradition broke all relaxation. My dad said, we needed to “knock the flavor into it.” Even as a kid, I knew the idea was ridiculous, and LOVED IT!
The turkey-whap memory brings me right back into my early childhood kitchen. I see my brother winding up like a pro-pitcher and my twin sister Rachel biting her bottom lip in engaged intensity. I feel the way my feet, wrapped warm in soft socks, slid on the linoleum floor. I see the wooden cabinets and a tan phone hanging on the wall. I spy Papa on the couch and the parades in my periphery: “Hello,” giant Snoopy ballooning over NYC. I try to mimic those amazing Rockettes with their high dance kicks and I hear Mom’s voice, “Gram was a model in New York and she always wanted to be a Rockette but wasn’t the right height.”
I want to really go back. I’m hungry to taste our traditional cinnamon roll and Lil’ Smokies sausage breakfast. I’d wash it all down with grainy pulp-filled orange juice. To be true to tradition, Joshua and I would fight over the last wrinkled Smokie, even though I’d be stuffed and the aromatic promise of true stuffing filled the air.
For better or worse, my family has significantly changed form. I won’t be with any of them this year. But I cling to this Turkey memory, gravied in nostalgia. I chew on it, and become grateful for the memory.
What are your Thanksgiving recollections that give significance to gratitude? What scenes from your life might seem crazy to the onlooker, but fill your heart with thanksgiving?
Please share these nuggets from your past that make you appreciate today.
Your Brave Tutu (You’re brave, too-too!)
If you like giving gratitude for the small moments, please check out Megan Grace's guest article A Ripped Leaf leaves an Impression.