Thursday, November 26, 2020

Turkey Story Continued

I was only 6 years old and I am 'way beyond that now. 

Every year my parents would pack up the car for the trip to my Dad's mother's house in a little town called Yates Center, KS, some 150 miles from our house in Kansas City, Mo.  Preparations for this lengthy ride (probably 3 hours plus) included the making and packing of a picnic to dine on mid-trip. This was in 1946, post-war.  No money to go eating in a restaurant - "We're not the Vanderbilt's, you know."

Daddy always enjoyed this trip even though my mother and I disliked it intensely.  Grandma  never hesitated to ask my mother why she let me wear those dreadful blue jeans (I looked alarmed but my Mother patted me comfortingly, assuring me this wouldn't happen)  
On this particular trip when he ran into an old running mate back in the day - he was apprised of the fact there was gonna be a Turkey Shoot the next day.  Daddy was proud of his marksmanship and set off post hast to sign up.  He was, after all a several times .22 target shooting champion back in Kansas City, Mo and now came through grandma's front door crowing about appetites and succulent turkey meat.  ("Instead of that ghastly, gamey deer meet," muttered my mom. adding, "Hunting!  Huh - all they do is build a fire and sit around it drinking whiskey .  Hunting my eye" and stuffed another sandwich in her picnic basked.     

But 'twas not to be.  Late that afternoon he came through Grandma's front door. again, but in a very different mood.  I could tell from his face that there was no joy in Yates Center.  He looked at my mother and said, "It's on the back porch."  

I heard this from my post behind the door to the bedrooms upstairs, I couldn't wait to get to the back porch and see what "it" could possibly be.  A great big turkey? but wait he was not in a good mood by a long shot.  My Mother walked toward porch, opened the door, looked around, and back out to find grandma, presumably to plan the Thanksgiving Day dinner at noon the next day.

Yippee! I thought and went straight into the back porch.  There I saw a large cardboard box - flaps softly covering the top.  What could it be?  So I marched right over and flipped and flaps all the way open.  There sat a gorgeous teal duck, black eyes staring right back at me.  The body and tail feathers were a rainbow of various shades of turquois  I instantly fell in love and the parents had difficulty getting me in for dinner. I didn't want to leave my new best friend.  Mother and Daddy cut eyes at one another and I reluctantly slipped into my designated seat.

The next morning the whole household was in uproar - Grandma insisted on setting out a hearty breakfast, we wimmin' know you got chores, too, Dicky Bird - her nickname for Daddy whose real name was Victor.  So grandma set out on the big dining room table the following:
homemade-sausages, home-cured bacon, sunny-side up eggs - at least a dozen or more! A big bowl of scrambled eggs shining in butter. Toast - white, rye , homemade pastries such as freshly-made cinnamon lavished with frosting, 

Grabbing a slice of toast, I headed straight onto the back porch to sneak feed my new friend, who clucked softly and settled more firmly on the bed I had made him.  

Daddy called me to go with him on  couple of errands (they must have killed, plucked and cleaned it during my absence.)  And by the time we were back at the house, dinner was ready.  "Wash your hands, the both of you; we're ready to begin."  And when we were in our places at the table, Grand ma and  my Mother began put out dish after dish of vegetables, dressing, gravy (but NO salad!) - no wonder my 5 ft. 3in. grandma must have weighted at least 180 lbs.   

While I deftly avoided anything remotely good for me Grandma had slipped out on the back porch and in seconds, she emerged with a very big platter with something on it and she seemed proud of it.  With a flourish, Daddy stood up, relieved of the platter, and put it in the very middle of the table.  I half-rose to see what it was.  i studied it from all angles and an idea began to form really strengthened was Daddy said, "Have some duck - it's delicious (with a nod to his mother.)

I jumped up from my chair, knocking  it over smartly and ran from the dining room sobbing hysterically slamming the door as I ran, sobbing hysterically all the rest of the day.  Until fatigue finally set in.  But I spent most of the next day giving all of them the dead fish eye.
I think you'd have been a little upset, too - wouldn't you?

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