Friday, December 6, 2013

Thanksgiving - Elena, 90

(written five years ago)

Thanksgiving is fast approaching—ah, Thanksgiving.  We all have much to be thankful for.  After 85 years of living, I know I do.  I have said many times I would never want to live life over.  To give up all the things I regret, I would give up all the good things in my life, and they are so many.

I have so many good memories.  Here is the memory of my family’s first Thanksgiving turkey.  When I was asked, I don’t remember celebrating Thanksgiving in any special way.  We always had the traditional Italian Sunday dinner—pasta and meatballs and roasted chicken or capon with white potatoes and sweet potatoes baked around it.  No turkey.

When my only brother was about nine-years-old (he was eighteen months younger than I was), he asked my mother to buy a live turkey because of the feathers.  In those days, the favorite pastime for boys was to play cowboys and Indians (sometimes the girls were included to play just the Westerns we enjoyed at the movies).  My brother wanted to make an Indian headdress with the feathers.

About two weeks before Thanksgiving, my mother bought a live turkey from the corner chicken store.  The chicken store sold chickens and included turkeys at Thanksgiving, and the customer usually picked out the chicken for Sunday dinner.  The turkey my mother bought was brought home and put in the basement abd tied by the leg with a long string to one of the water pipes, giving it lots of room to move about.

My brother was elated.  Every day after school, he would go down into the basement and talk to the turkey and spend time with it before dinner.  They became good friends.  When the time came to kill the turkey for Thanksgiving, my brother cried as if his heart would break, and my mother didn’t have the heart to do it.  That Thanksgiving, again, we had the usual Italian dinner, and the turkey was running around in the basement.

A few weeks later, the turkey disappeared.  My brother was told the turkey ran away.  My mother had given the turkey to a neighbor.  The disappearance of the turkey didn’t bother my brother so much—just so he hadn’t eaten it.

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