Bone Turkey

We were poor college students, over 1,600 miles from home, when we celebrated our first Thanksgiving as husband and wife. The capacity of our kitchen was two, uncomfortably. It was 1976.

Dave Tricky, a fellow student, came over with his girlfriend. It was a big deal; friends and food mean a lot when you don’t have much.

Holidays make us miss home when we can’t be there. But, I’ll never forget how proud and excited we felt to host our own gathering of four. We were becoming real adults. I was 20 and Dale was 19.

We moved the tiny kitchen table to the slightly larger living room and stationed it uncomfortably close to the front door to accommodate the crowd.

After the blessing, I ceremoniously stood, as the “man” of the house to proudly carve the bird. It was one of life’s great moments.

Sadly, thankfulness was soon replaced with deflating humiliation. The knife didn’t glide through tender breast meat. It hit bone!

I stayed calm and poked around. The whole damn turkey was devoid of meat.  I brought home a bone turkey. If not for the legs, it would have been vegetarian Thanksgiving. Finally, they left.

Defeated, I carried the bone-bird to the kitchen built for two, uncomfortably, to scavenge the remains. We could use even sparse leftovers.

In the processes of cleaning the carcass I flipped the bird and there, before my defeated eyes, lay two succulent turkey breasts, laughing at me. We’d cooked the bird breast-side down. I’d carved the boney back.

A lesson for a boney bird:

Successful leaders search through bones to find meat.

Happy Thanksgiving to all my friends in the US.