BALANCING ACT:   Turkey gets a jump on Thanksgiving

Staff writer

With Christmas trees up in stores already and television advertisements screaming good deals for the holidays, it is only natural that nature got a jump on Thanksgiving last week.

While driving to school on Thursday, my teenage son accidentally hit a turkey. From what he said, it was pretty hard not to hit one of the 40 to 50 wild birds that have made a habit of congregating in the middle of a road near our place.

However, when he called at 7:05 in the morning and asked if I wanted to cook a turkey, I was a bit confused. Had I somehow blown off an entire two weeks and it was already time for turkey?

Let me be clear that our family does not make a habit of eating road-kill. However, it is a bit hard to pass up a pristine turkey with little-to-no damage who simply, and unfortunately for him, tried to eat the front bumper of our mini-van and then flipped up onto the hood and bounced to the roof, dead with a broken neck. By my way of reasoning, that can hardly be called road-kill, because it did not touch the road as it died.

At the risk of being late for school, which he was not because he left early that day, my son grabbed the turkey off the top of the van, flung him into the passenger seat, and buzzed back home with the turkey.

Lucky for me, my husband was there to clean the bird and we popped him into the crock-pot on low, along with a few chicken bouillon cubes, before leaving for our various jobs that day.

Mmmm, the house smelled good by the time we got back home that night, just like Thanksgiving. But with school activities and all, it was late, late, and there just was not time to eat the turkey.

Oh well, he seemed to be simmering away just fine, so I left him in the crock-pot on low until morning.

When we all got up Friday morning, guess what we had for breakfast. Oh yeah, it was turkey time. That was the best meal ever. The turkey was so tender it just fell off the bones. Some people say wild turkey tastes gamy, never has that been a problem for our family.

We peeled off the breast meat first, tender and juicy. Then, as time was ticking away, I made roast turkey sandwiches for everyone to take along. It was so good! The best part was that unlike Thanksgiving, none of us felt stuffed and bloated because there was not any time to make all those side dishes that usually accompany turkey on Thanksgiving. No pie, no potatoes, no fluffy gelatin, no stuffing — just flat out meaty, tasty turkey. And it was good.

I am now rethinking the traditional Thanksgiving meal. Who needs all that fluffy stuff that just makes you feel fat after the fact? Pilgrims and native American Indians probably only had turkey, roasted corn, squash, and apples. We need to get back to that.

I guess our real Thanksgiving turkey will have to come from the store, unless someone from our house gets lucky again and the turkeys down the road do not run fast enough. Either way, getting a jump on Thanksgiving was not such a bad idea after all. Turkey is good all the time, any time.

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