A Thanksgiving Memory...
This is a Thanksgiving story that my father used to tell:
Dad was born shortly after the depression. His parents were plain, simple country-folk. I'm not sure that they had lost much (or anything) in the depression, because they never really had a lot to begin with. But, they did learn a lot of lessons in those days that they pretty much carried with them to their graves.
They had a small farm in Talking Rock, GA. No farm animals, unless you count their 15 year-old, three legged dog (named "Speedy"). They lived off of the land and grew all of the vegetables that they ate. Papa would go fishing whenever the family craved a taste of meat. They had a huge distrust of banks and opted to keep their money hidden around the house-- in the dirty clothes hamper, under the mattress, in old Mason jars, stuffed in the pockets of the Sunday clothes that they never wore but planned on being buried in some day.
One Summer day, a neighbor offered to sell my grandfather a live turkey for a cheap price. Papa jumped at the deal, and pulled a couple of dollars out of the coffee can, under the sink. He brought the turkey home with all intents on just trying to keep it alive and well-fed, in hopes that this bird could become the centerpiece of their Thanksgiving dinner come November. When Papa brought the turkey home, Dad immediately fell in love. He named the Turkey "Sam" and it became his job to feed Sam a couple of times each day.
A few months went by and the weather started turning colder. The leaves in the Talking Rock trees began to transform into a picture postcard setting. Thanksgiving was approaching, and everyone knew what that meant. Well, everyone but Sam.
Papa spent a lot of sleepless nights trying to figure out how he could manage to pull this off. He never had a problem skinning a fish, but could he actually kill Sam in time for Thanksgiving dinner? Papa had 2 brothers that owned chicken farms nearby. It was nothing for them to go out and kill a chicken and eat it a couple of hours later. But Papa was a sensitive man.
Eventually, Thanksgiving Day arrived. I'm not sure who did it, but Sam was killed, plucked, roasted and presented to the center of the dining room table, amongst the sweet potato souffle, corn and okra. There in the middle of the table was my father's beloved pet- cooked and ready to eat. The entire family looked at the turkey with disgust. It might as well have been Speedy lying there with an apple in his mouth. No one in the family had a bite of meat during that dinner. They filled up on the homemade biscuits and raved about how great the home-grown vegetables tasted, and no one ever said a word about poor Sam.
Later, the whole family went fishing and they enjoyed a Thanksgiving supper of catfish and brim, along with some reheated sweet potato souffle.