Travesty Thy Name is Thanksgiving

The remainder of the meal was less spectacular.

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Many of you know that I’m a tetraplegic (a.k.a. quadriplegic). My situation is not as bad as you may think. Many spinal cord injuries result in much more debilitating restrictions than the ones I have. On the other hand, there are day-to-day challenges.

My wonderful wife, Robinette, has been my primary caregiver since the injury. She, and time, have helped me recover many abilities, some more successfully than others. For example, I can’t do the Vulcan V-salute any longer. I can, however, do the middle finger salute, not as quickly as my preinjury days, but the effect is the same.

Recently there’s been a role reversal of sorts. Robinette sustained a painful back injury, which has been slow to heal. It’s so bad, that she needs a walker and can’t be on her feet for long. To salt the wound, she came down with a nasty virus that’s had her miserable for weeks. All of a sudden, I’m more capable than she is in some respects—it’s my time to shine.

Meal preparation and clean-up, plus setting up the morning coffee are now my responsibility. Admittedly I don’t do these things as well as she does, but beggars can’t be choosers.  We’ve been eating pretty simple fare under my watch: cereal, sandwiches and soups. Anticipating Thanksgiving, I’d hoped to raise the bar and present a traditional meal.

Thanks Give 2015

The result of my culinary effort was oven roasted yams and Brussel sprouts seasoned with garlic pepper, stuffing and turkey breast with gravy, accompanied with a very nice French Rosé. A picture is worth a thousand words. Perhaps, but in this case it’s a poor witness to the truth.

rose wineMy experience with rosés’ has been limited to White Zin and Boone’s Farm. If given the opportunity don’t hesitate to sample Chateaue d’Esclans Domaines Sacha Lichine’s Provence rosé. The wine, a gift from our daughter, was spectacular.

The remainder of the meal was less spectacular.

I’d wanted to buy a turkey breast but none was in stock when Christina, a longtime caregiver and friend, took me shopping last week. So I’d purchased a prepackaged turkey loaf with gravy in its own pan—the pictures looked good. The product had more in common with Spam than turkey breast. Actually that’s not fair. Spam’s better. My Stove Top stuffing texture lay between uncooked French toast and wet Playdough, but saltier. Not as salty as the gravy though.  The Brussel sprouts were under cooked and barely edible. I’m proud of the yams—they weren’t revolting.

Robinette gave me an A for effort, but left a full plate. She always gives me an A for effort and I appreciated this one as much as all the others. But, just between you and me, I hope she’s in charge of next year’s Thanksgiving. If she isn’t, Domino’s will hear from me.

I’m thankful Thanksgiving is past.


© 2015 David P. Cantrell

Thomas the Thankful Turkey

By: David P. Cantrell

Thomas is a very special bird.

He was hatched like millions of turkeys are each year, but he didn’t have a father like most. He had the research department of FowlTech, Inc. to thank for his paternal DNA.  Wild turkey

FowlTech’s consumer research group had anticipated the Cage Free movement years before the press had coined the phrase.  Consumers living in fancy East Coast lofts and West Coast Mc-Mansions had decided animals slaughtered for their gastric pleasure should live the good life before being consumed. The irony hadn’t been lost on those living between the coasts, but their lack of purchasing power couldn’t stem the sea change that was coming.

The cage-free concept had scared the hell out of the company’s CEO and Board of Directors. They’d spent millions developing the big, immobile domestic turkeys that consumers loved to eat at a low price, but the birds were so stupid they’d starve in a cage free environment unless hand fed. Hand feeding and profits were mutually exclusive in their minds.

FowlTech’s genetic engineers worked on the problem for three years looking for the combination that would produce marketable turkeys in a cage free environment. Thomas and his 99 brothers were the Company’s hope for the future. The birds were loaded on an environmentally controlled trailer and departed the Virginia research center six months after they’d been hatched. It happened to be the third Thursday of November when they left for the Company’s Georgia production farm and a new life.

Thomas never got there.

***

Thomas was a very clever turkey.

Somewhere near Alcolu, South Carolina, on the south bound I-95, the front left tire of the Kenworth T660 hauling Thomas to his new home blew out. The driver did his best to control the big rig but momentum and a two lane bridge left him with few options. His cab made a U-turn when it hit the guardrail and his trailer broke its connection as it rolled into the Pocotaligo River.

Thomas was not only clever, he was very lucky, at least on that day, because the trailer’s roof landed on a boulder that caused the right rear door to fly open. But, that wasn’t the luckiest thing. Thomas’ travel cage flew clear of the trailer and broke open when it hit a partially submerged oak trunk that lay on the bank, which was very lucky, but not the luckiest thing. The luckiest thing was that Thomas understood his peril and escaped the cage before it disappeared in a rush of water.

He scrambled up the trunk and perched on a branch to survey the situation. The trailer sank before his eyes and as far as he could tell none of his travel mates had escaped.

He chose to go upstream. Two hours later he was glad that he had.

The narrow river opened into a five mile wide forest populated by confers and hardwoods. He continued until the stream meandered through a glen surrounded by trees and shrubs. Instinct told him to stop his trek and rest.

The next morning a flock of turkeys led by an impressive gobbler fed on the far side of the glen. Thomas watched the group carefully. He wanted to join them but fear held him back for a while. The big gobbler saw Thomas, just a jake and not a true threat, crossing the glen and halfheartedly challenged him, but let him join the group.

Thomas had a home.

 

Thomas grew to be a spectacular specimen. He looked like most wild turkeys except for his snood, which became iridescent pink when he was excited. The geneticists at FowlTech had suspected the Raven genes added to his genome had done more than increase his heart and lung capacity as intended. They’d been correct. However, a much more significant by product of their manipulations, had been his intelligence.

Thomas found it easy to defeat the other males when the old gobbler died, but it took more to become the alpha male—the hens had the real power in the flock. They found his snood and brains quite attractive and accepted him. He had plans to grab more hens from a neighboring gobbler next spring, however he felt fall was a time to take stock of life, not pester neighbors.

Thomas, perched on a gnarled oak, surveyed his realm and thought of all he had to be thankful for, but more than anything else he gave thanks for bad truck tires, large boulders, fallen oaks, and the intelligence to make a life with his loved ones.

Happy Thanksgiving.


© 2015 David P. Cantrell is a contributing member of the Edgewise Words Inn staff

Photo credit: “Gall-dindi” by Riki7 – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Gall-dindi.jpg#/media/File:Gall-dindi.jpg