Turkey’s Revenge: I Bought a Bone Turkey for Thanksgiving

Friends and food mean a lot when you don’t have much.

We were poor college students, over 1,600 miles from home, when we celebrated our first Thanksgiving as husband and wife.

humble yourself before a turkey humbles you

Holidays make us miss home. But I’ll never forget how proud and excited we felt to host Dave Tricky, a fellow student, and his girlfriend for our first Thanksgiving. (Yes, that’s his real name.)

We were becoming real adults. My bride was 19. I was 20. It was 1976.

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 of four.

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. But the knife didn’t slice off tender breast meat. IT HIT BONE! 

I poked the blade around. The whole damn turkey was bone.  I had purchased a bone turkey! If not for the drumsticks and wings, it would have been vegetarian Thanksgiving. 

Dave and his girlfriend probably stopped at a fast food joint on their way home. 

After our guests left, I carried the bone-bird to our tiny kitchen to scavenge the remains, defeated. We could use even sparse leftovers.

In the processes of cleaning the carcass, I flipped the bird to find two succulent turkey breasts, laughing at me. I’d carved the bone back of the turkey. We had cooked the bird upside down!

I learned more from that first Thanksgiving than all the rest.

  • Humble yourself before a turkey humbles you.
  • You don’t always know what you have.
  • Sometimes a different approach changes everything.
  • One day, if you keep learning, you’ll laugh at how ignorant you used to be.

What have you learned from a “funny” holiday experience?

*This post is a revision of an article I posted on Nov. 22, 2012. Believe it or not, it’s a true story.