Mom’s Most Memorable Meal

Today as I prepare a million different dishes for Thursday’s feast, I thought I’d share (for a second time) another family story, about the year my Mom forgot her turkey.  I’m pretty sure you’ll buy fresh from now on.  I certainly do!


It seems like just the other day that I was talking about folks to whom strange things just happen.  Maybe that’s because it was just the other day that I told this story.

I have a secret, though.  I’m not the only person in my family with this, ummm, gift for attracting the strange and humorous.  Dad used to say that if there was a weirdo within 5 miles of him, that weirdo would find Dad and have a nice long chat.  But if something weird was going to happen, well, it would happen to Mom.  Somehow I managed to inherit both weirdness magnets.  Sigh.

But this is Mom’s story.

Mom wasn’t the bird lover in our family.  Dad was.  So I should have known something weird had happened when Mom identified a bird I was looking at from a distance.  Mom and Dad were visiting John and I in Connecticut.  She and I were driving not far from our house one day in about 1990, and I pulled over to look at the large birds circling above us.  Back then large predatory birds soaring were still an unusual sight — when I saw those large silhouettes, I always assumed they were eagles.  I mean, what else could it be?  I kept trying to get a good look.

“They’re turkey vultures,” Mom said with complete certainty.  “We see them all the time at home in Florida.”

You lookin' for me? (Google image, natch)

They weren’t eagles?
(Google image, natch)

Turkey vultures?” I said, not believing her for a minute.  I’d never even heard of such a creature.  Mom pursed her lips and looked back at me, slightly annoyed that I was questioning her (never seen before) bird identification skills.

I should have been suspicious.  I should have know there was a story behind Mom’s new-found large bird expertise.  I should have known that something weird was involved.

“They’re really big.  And up close, they really do look just like turkeys.”

“When did you ever get ‘up close’ to a turkey vulture, Mom?”

She tried to avoid the question.

“Mom….” It was never too hard to get Mom to tell her stories.  Something else we have in common.  “Fess up…”

“It wasn’t my fault.  That refrigerator at home is just too small.”


“Well, it happened last Thanksgiving, but I didn’t want to tell you,” she laughed.  “I knew I’d never hear the end of it.”

“Mom …”

“Dad and I went to the grocery store on Saturday, as usual, the weekend before Thanksgiving,” she continued.  “And we bought a frozen turkey for Thanksgiving Dinner.”

“OK.”  I wasn’t catching on.

“Well, it was a frozen turkey.  Frozen solid.  You know it takes days to thaw those things.  You might as well try to melt an iceberg.  I put it into the roasting pan and placed it on the counter to thaw.  But I kept having to move it around that tiny kitchen to do anything else.  Then, on Sunday night when I was making dinner, I needed my counter.  So I put the still rock hard turkey into the carport.”

“Mom, doesn’t your carport get pretty warm?  It is in Florida, after all.”

“Well, that wasn’t really the problem,” she said, laughing.  “Not exactly, anyhow.  Or not at first.  The problem was that I forgot I’d left the turkey there.  I woke up Thursday morning, ready to get started on Thanksgiving Dinner and couldn’t find my turkey!  I thought I was going nuts.  I knew we had bought one.  ‘Where’d you put my turkey?’ I asked your father, accusingly.  ‘I didn’t do anything with it.  Did it get up and walk away?’ he asked.  And then I remembered – ‘Oh Lord, it’s in the carport.  I hope it’s still OK to eat.’”

“I went out the door to find the carport  filled with turkey vultures–I don’t even know how many were in there.  They were sitting on the car, on the workbench.  On the floor.  Everywhere!  And you know, they really do look just like turkeys.  They have those red heads and bulging eyes.  They had torn the packaging apart and were eating our Thanksgiving turkey!  I sent your father out to shoo them all away.  And then he had to go to Publix to get something for our feast.”

I roared.  So did she, remembering.

“I told him to get a piece of beef to roast.  I’d had enough birds for a while.”

Mom was absolutely right.  Turkey vultures look a whole lot like turkey turkeys.  Especially after they’ve just had Thanksgiving dinner.

Oh, and her instinct was right — she should never have told me this story.  She never did hear the end of it!

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to my fellow ‘Mericans!

To those who aren’t over indulging this week, can I send you a few pounds?


Filed under 'Merica, Adult Traumas, Bat-shit crazy, Bloggin' Buddies, Conspicuous consumption, Cool people, Crazy family members, Diet tips, Disgustology, Driving, Family, History, Holidays, Huh?, Humiliation, Humor, laughter, Love, Missing Folks, Mom, Mom would die of embarrassment, Oh shit, Pets, Wild Beasts, WTF?

37 responses to “Mom’s Most Memorable Meal

  1. cortney

    I’m a few days late to the holiday party but fantastic story, Elyse! Sounds like yyou had one clever mother.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I enjoy turkey vultures from a distance. Up close they look a little too substantial for me! Great story.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Glad you liked it — is it Ellen? I think they look rather majestic when they soar. And Wilbur and Orville figured out the wings on their plane by observing turkey vultures. Do they’ve got that goin’ for them!


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  4. Isn’t that a bit like cannibalism? Your mother simply had the best stories! What an inheritance you have. Hope your day was wonderful. Thank you for your stories, Elyse.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It IS cannibalism, I’m quite certain. But then it isn’t so different from the way some of us humans go after family members on this particular holiday!

      My holiday was nice, thanks Val. It may take days for me to recover, though! And I’m glad (through your response to my comment at your house) that yours was too!


  5. I loved this story, Elyse! Oh gosh, the turkey vultures freak me out. They’re huge and they look like they’re wearing a dark cape.
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Vultures get a very bad reputation. Unlike their human counterparts, they are very polite and orderly as they consume carrion.

    I once saw a tree in winter “decorated” with vultures. They spaced themselves like ornaments on the tree branches. It looked like something out of a Tim Burton film.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Actually they do have an important role in the circle of life — the world would be much stinkier without them. But they ARE ugly. Especially when Tim Burton gets a hold of them!


  7. We routinely get turkey vultures here in southeastern PA. They come and clean up the seeds under the bird feeders. They aren’t any trouble and usually only one or two stop buy during the summer for a snack and then they leave. Occasionally they leave a gigantic poop for us. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Your mother could be my sister!!!!!!!! I am terrified of birds and the thought of seeing one let alone a herd of them in my carport about sends me the willies. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Liked by 2 people

  9. This one never gets old. Happy Turkey Day!

    Liked by 2 people

  10. Never saw one either until we moved here last year. They are gross looking! Happy Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 2 people

    • They are everywhere in NOVA now. But I will give you a bit of turkey vulture trivia — that is the bird that led Wilbur and Orville to figure out how to make their plane — the turkey vulture’s wings have a back flap

      Happy Florida Thanksgiving to you too!


  11. I wonder if the turkey vultures were arguing over turkey vulture politics as they were eating the turkey.

    Liked by 2 people

  12. I hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving, Elyse! Loved the story (as usual)

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Haha…that is one of the best Thanksgiving stories I’ve read!

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Glazed

    Great story, Elyse. The turkey vulture problem on Thanksgiving is actually quite common. Every Thanksgiving, many of our elderly guests look just like turkey vultures.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. That’s a great story. I can imagine myself forgetting about the turkey in the carport. Out of sight out of mind…

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I knew a game warden who arrested a man for shooting a golden eagle. He insisted it was a turkey and was going to take it home and eat it. A better punishment would have been to let him eat it. Turkey vultures are resident birds in the American West. We call them buzzards even though it isn’t technically correct.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I agree. Nothing like eating carrion…

      I’m in Virginia now, and turkey vultures (and black vultures) are everywhere. But at the time of this story, birds of prey were still recovering from the effects of DDT.

      I’d always called them buzzards too. But I lived in Europe for a few years and the European “Common Buzzards” are actually beautiful hawks! I was quite surprised.

      Liked by 1 person

  17. That’s almost akin to cannabalism, isn’t it? 😉

    Great story. Leaving a turkey out sounds scarily like something I’d do.

    Have a great Thanksgiving, Elyse!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. As we are in the process of defrosting our birds (two turkey breasts, as no one likes dark meat) in our very small kitchen, I can totally relate to your mother’s story. Happy Thanksgiving, Elyse!

    Liked by 1 person

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