November 21, 2019
I have heard more than one turkey disaster story. One of them happened while checking the progress of a roasting turkey. The grandmother, who was hosting the dinner, slid it out on the oven rack to check the baking progress. The bird “took flight” and went sailing through the air, along with the juicy contents of the roasting pan, flipping over onto the floor and landing with its wings flapping. The dear, sweet, saintly grandmother let out an uncharacteristic and unexpected expletive, mostly because the broth for the gravy was ruined. Some of the grandchildren, as shocked onlookers, shouted at grandma’s curse word and ran out of the kitchen (or were herded out), giggling at grandma’s outburst. The adults scrambled to clean up and make alternative plans for the gravy (stores weren’t open on Thanksgiving Day).
Another scenario started right before dinner was set to begin. A lighted candle set the dining room tablecloth on fire, and one of the male guests yanked the tablecloth off to “save the dinner,” ultimately resulting in the turkey going flying. The golden retriever grabbed at his chance to get in on the feast and carried the whole turkey off for his own Thanksgiving enjoyment. Looking back and imagining these incredible tales are hilarious now. At the time, it was likely quite a downer for the families who had their taste buds ready for that traditional bird dinner and didn’t get it exactly as envisioned.
So, Plan B was concocted, turning the disaster into a bit of a triumph. In hindsight, the happenings mentioned above became stories that everyone always remembers and retells with more embellishment each year. And mentally picturing the drama of it all after the fact becomes absolutely hysterical! Written down, these are the vignettes that you want to be sure to preserve for your family annals. If you like reading more stories, there is a book with family situations like these called Thanksgiving Tales.
These experiences—beyond making us LOL—help to “put meat on the bones” of the family pedigree charts and can be treasured for generations as they are shared again and again over the years. What better way to remember Great Aunt Lucy or Grandma and Grandpa’s stories than to preserve them in their own words? The Midwest Genealogy Center has just the thing for this: “Tell Me A Story” kits, which include a digital voice recorder and can be checked out for four weeks—ample time for Thanksgiving or other holiday get-togethers. A CD will be created for the customer, and with their permission, the interview will be added to MGC’s oral history collection where others can listen to it. And if you live far away from our area, there is always the audio and video recorder on your phone or camera to capture the tales.
As time goes by, “giving thanks” includes gratefulness for these special memories (and the emotions they evoke as we retell them), all while we are in the midst of creating new special times to remember and share.
Midwest Genealogy Center
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