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Thankful for Turkey

Updated on November 7, 2014

Our Thanksgiving Meal

In today's world, we fix two turkeys for Thanksgiving. One is for the family and one is for my husband who refuses to share any part of the turkey. It is his favorite meal.

But that was not always the case.

When I was small, we did not have turkey for Thanksgiving. My father was not a fan so we always had ham. The memories are hazy but I must have been about 8 years old before a turkey graced our table.

My dad was a prankster - Ruby and Ernest Rhea


We could expect that at any time, my dad would go out of his way to embarrass us or trick someone. That was just who he was and it is true that girls often marry someone who is similar. My husband has the same humor so I just prolonged the agony for an additional 30 plus years. Still, there was never a dull moment.

Backstory to the turkey meal

Art Linkletter had a show in the 1950s called "House Party". Although I can't find the episode, my dad was on the show. It was called, "Are you a man or a mouse?" and he had to do several things as part of the stunt. One of them was to have my mom prepare a turkey dinner and then refuse to eat it.

I don't remember what happened but I do remember that my mother was angry. I don't remember eating the turkey so I am betting that it was thrown out. I was about 6 years old so it had to be around 1955. What is most striking about the incident is that it was never really talked about after that. My dad received a nice watch for his efforts and we continued to eat ham for Thanksgiving.

Electric roaster

Nesco 4818-14 Classic Roaster Oven, 18-Quart, Porcelain Cookwell, Ivory
Nesco 4818-14 Classic Roaster Oven, 18-Quart, Porcelain Cookwell, Ivory

When I cook my husband's turkey, I use the electric roaster. I usually get him a turkey between 12 to 18 pounds and it fits nicely. I can also move it to another room because counter space tends to be less at Thanksgiving. When the turkey is done, I pop it into the oven for it to brown. The turkey always comes out moist and falls off the bone.

Turkey Pot Pie
Turkey Pot Pie

The first turkey for Thanksgiving at our house

When I was 7 years old, my brother was 5 and just starting Kindergarten. It was Thanksgiving and the little kids were making turkey cutouts with feathers. My brother came home from school and asked my mother how come we didn't have turkey for Thanksgiving. She explained that Dad did not like turkey. Still, in the typical little brother fashion that has not changed in 60 years, he pestered saying that he wanted turkey for Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving day arrived and the ham was on the table. My brother pouted and my mother opened the oven and pulled out his meal. It was a Banquet Turkey Pot Pie.

The Banquet brand started in 1953 and was all the rage with families who were looking for a prepared meal. They started with the meat pies and the frozen dinners hit the market in 1955. These were the TV dinners that we still sometimes eat.

Turkey for dinner?

Does turkey grace your table at Thanksgiving?

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The turkey dislike gene must skip a generation or two

My grandson does not like turkey. He will eat a bite of it but that's all. Now that he's a teen, we are hoping he will outgrow the dislike but it appears doubtful. I actually think that he would have been happier eating ham with his great grandfather.

Going forward

My mother was a great cook, learned as a child in a family of 10 in Wichita Falls, Texas. It is her recipes that I use today for our Thanksgiving meal. It was the following year that a full-sized turkey appeared on our table, along with the cornbread dressing and yeast rolls that we still enjoy.

Along with the turkey was a small ham for my dad. By the time we were 8 and 10 years old, the turkey became the standard Thanksgiving meal. The prankster lost the turkey battle but he went on to annoy and entertain us for may more years.

I am thankful for the wonderful parents I had. Other than the turkey battle, my brother and I were blessed with great parents who accepted us for who we were and the adults we became. My brother likes to say that we were disadvantaged because our parents did not divorce and we lost out on the experience. Our parents were married more than 50 years and losing them has left a giant hole in our hearts. Our parents taught us about love and family and there were no better examples. Every Thanksgiving, we give thanks to God for blessing us with parents who believed in him and shared their beliefs. And...we are thankful for turkey.

Comments welcomed

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    • DrBillSmithWriter profile image

      William Leverne Smith 

      6 years ago from Hollister, MO

      Fun lens! Love turkey! Short and Sweet! Blessed! ;-)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      A very lovely lens.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      A beautiful touching lens - thank you for sharing it.

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image


      7 years ago

      Loved the story of the 1st Thanksgiving turkey at your house! Congratulations on your lens being featured on the Fall Harvest Fest monsterboard.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Absolutely wonderful story thank you so very much for sharing. Blessed by a SquidAngel.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      warm story and enjoyed it.

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      A very heartwarming story of your family. wishes for a Happy Thanksgiving in advance! :)

    • profile image


      7 years ago

      Love how you made this personal.. Thanks!!! :) Blessed!

    • Diana Wenzel profile image

      Renaissance Woman 

      7 years ago from Colorado

      Isn't it amazing how food memories are such a part of our family histories. Thank you for sharing the stories that have been an important part of your life. They are appreciated.

    • dahlia369 profile image


      7 years ago

      Beautiful, very much enjoyed reading your story! :)

    • marigoldina profile image

      Heather B 

      7 years ago

      Such an entertaining story. I loved the part about your dad being on TV. Not every family has that kind of story to tell!


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