A Reading from Uncle John’s Farm: On the Mandate of Turkeys

Thinking, Buttressed by Chocolate and Wine
November 17, 2006
Checking in with Jeff
November 23, 2006

Brothers and Sisters in Christ:

Reaching out for solidarity with poultry, we clamp our hands around his thigh. Pulling this way and that, wafts of sausage-rosemary stuffing filling the kitchen, we complete the affair with a sultry tug at the breast. The best of meats, light or dark, must be kept for the final presentation. Don the business of birds with a buttress of gravy, a concatenation of drippings and spice. Turn the whole repast on its head, taking the cranberry with an unwelcome dollop of cream. Butternut squash plays the fiddle beside, something of subtleness and savory, but sweet in its nature as well. And what of the end of the tirade of turkey? Yes, it’s true, comes the pie with its prettification and poise. Snug at the lip of its homey, glass plate, the perfect permutations of crust tickle the eyes while hints at the cinnamon, the clove, and the ginger bounce from nose to wiggling nose. And then through the cut, the angular wedge that sizes a bit too big, we douse it with more of that frothy creation, homemade whipped cream. End of ends with a cup of crisp coffee, and nothing too great than a curtain with grappa and a market for much conversation.

Is this the delectable end to a rememberancing day of unfeigned thanks? For bounty, we thank you: whoever the you; for somethings and nothings we thank you as well, and for all of the stuff we don’t understand. The turkey, all prideful and glinting with greatness, has seen the other end of the world. To be living and happy, gobbling nonsense to pigs and a chicken or two. Yes, indeed, he was happy, until the axe fell, and then there was new happiness born. Skin mopped with a whole host of herb-flavored butter, primping and tying up ends that hang loose. Swallowing everything else in its gullet, the bird takes the feast on its wings. And there at the table, luscious and crisp, it boasts a good name for the good breed of turkeys.

Are we not a bit like birds killed for thanks? Laugh at me; many have done it, many still do. But as we die, whatever the way – sin, sickness, sadness, repose – we have in our future a good deal of goodness to do. Through ourselves, body whole or divided, we serve a purpose that none can reveal. For someone’s great feast of thanksgiving and praise, we fit as the dark meat. Leftover sandwiches mounded with bean sprouts, gravy, and breast meat, we serve sustenance, remembrance, and love. Oh call me a cannibal, a sick, twisted soul with visions of barbequed human. I am only trying to see the good; the turkeys we are, the stuffing we swallow, the cranberries we will still never touch. Think on the day with a satisfying rub at the tummy. Sure, it is scrumptious, delicious, delightful. But what beyond eating and sensory nerves at the tip of your tongue? What lasts in the gobbling idiot, head long forgotten, served at the center of Thanksgiving tables?

Remember the turkey; remember his life. Remember his family; remember the good he has done. And then, at that great turn of his life, think on your own gobbling idiocy. Do you remember your chicken friends? Do you still have memories of playing with pigs? Do not forget, then, what was sacrificed; more so, do not forget was gained. On this, the day of Thanksgiving.

Yours, forever next to the pigs behind the barn,

Frank, the Most Excellent Turkey

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