Minced turkey for Thanksgiving

Rick Ryckeley's picture

The early morning sun streamed through the bedroom window blinds, warming my face. A slight breeze slipped past the cracked window and tickled my neck, trying to awaken me.

Turning over to avoid the light, I glanced at the clock. That’s strange. It’s 8:30 – I’m gonna be late for school. Then the smell of fresh-baked bread drifted into the room. The oven door opened and closed, Mom was humming, and the scent of hot pumpkin pie filled the air.

Lying in bed, halfway between Dreamland and Slumberland, I heard plates being put on the table and glasses clanking downstairs. With my blankie pulled up around my neck, I realized that this was not a school day. Today was a special day, one that comes around but once a year.

It was no one’s birthday, no presents will be given, and no presents will be received. It wasn’t that kind of occasion, not that kind of day.

The screen door on the front porch slammed shut, and I heard the muffled voice of Neighbor Thomas’s mom. I remembered: She promised last week to come over and help cook and get everything ready for the afternoon meal. Neighbor Thomas and his family will eat with us this day; his dad was out of town on business.

That’s was just one of the reasons why today was gonna be special, ‘cause today was Turkey Day at our house. More importantly, at age 7, it was finally my turn to carve the bird.

I got up, dressed, ran downstairs and started to help (get in the way) in the kitchen. The pumpkin pie and bread that I had smelled were sitting on the cooling racks next to the window. Thomas’s mom had just put a dozen eggs on to boil.

She made the best deviled eggs in town, and this was the first time she was going to tell her secret recipe. After boiling the eggs and letting them cool in water, she told me to peel them. I got most of the shells off. Then Thomas’s mom cut them in half, scooped out the yokes, and put them in a mixing bowl. She diced an onion and added a large spoonful of mayonnaise, brown mustard, and sweet pickle relish. I mixed it all up and spooned it back into the egg halves.

Then the most important part came: I got to lick the spoon. She sprinkled a little paprika on top of each one to finish them off and then put them in the refrigerator till it was time for me to cut the turkey that afternoon.

Even though I was only 7 years old and the turkey was almost as big as me, cutting it would be no problem. Dad had seen to that. He bought a two-speed-electric-knife on Black Friday. He named it that when he hit his thumb with a hammer and his nail swelled up and turned black.

Dad said, “This electric knife is so sharp that it can cut right through a beer can.” Knowing us kids the way he did, Dad hid the knife in a safe place none of us would think to look — behind the dishes in the china cabinet.

Yes, cutting the turkey would be no problem this year and I would be the first one in the family to use the new electric knife, or so I thought.

When Big Brother James and Older Brother Richard found out about the two-speed electric knife, they wanted to be the first ones to try it out. Dad told them they would just have to wait till next year. They didn’t want to wait.

That morning before I got up, James and Richard snuck downstairs, got the electric knife out of the china cabinet where Dad had hid it – that’s where he hid everything — and headed for the basement.

While I was upstairs in the kitchen watching Thomas’s mom cut eggs in half, James and Richard were downstairs in the basement seeing what the two-speed-electric-knife could cut in half.

They first cut up a school pencil, my pool stick, and an old plastic pipe. James used the electric knife to cut The Sister’s jump rope in half and cut the handle off of one of Dad’s new hammers. Richard used the electric knife and cut a Coke can in half – which would have made much less of a mess if they had just thought to drink it first. They even used the knife to cut holes in our industrial-strength-reinforced-cardboard-refrigerator box.

The following week we used that very same box to steamroll our way across the briar patch lot down the street.

Then they quietly snuck back upstairs and returned the two-speed-electric-knife to its hiding place in the china cabinet.

At 2 in the afternoon everyone came together and sat at the table covered with pumpkin pie, home-baked bread, cranberry sauce, stuffing, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, deviled eggs, and, of course, a 22-pound turkey hot out of the oven.

As plates were passed around to me, I tried to put a slice or two of turkey on them, but even on high speed, the best that the two-speed-electric-knife could do was shred the turkey into little pieces.

Thanks to James and Richard, we all ate minced turkey for Thanksgiving that year. The next day Dad returned the two-speed-electric-knife, got his money back, and vowed never to buy one again.

That was the last time I can remember Dad owning an electric knife. It was also the last time I got to carve the family turkey.

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mudcat's picture
Submitted by mudcat on Fri, 11/13/2009 - 7:46pm.

No disrespect intended, believe me, but James and Richard sound a lot like some of the fools we now have in Congress - enabalers to the BHO monster who seems intent on destoying the country. And the electric knife is the health care bill.

Naturally the minced turkey is what the country will look like in 2013.

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