Your e-mails: Tales from turkey day
CNN.com readers share their Thanksgiving stories
YOUR E-MAIL ALERTS
(CNN) -- Thanksgiving is the time of year when individuals and families celebrate all things great in their lives. It's a time for good food, parades, fun and some serious reflection.
And, as CNN.com found out when we asked readers to send in their favorite holiday memories, Thanksgiving also can be a time for some seriously funny family antics.
Here's a sampling of those Thanksgiving stories, both funny and sweet, sent in by e-mail. (Some have been edited.)
My sister and husband have a housecleaning service in Westchester County, New York. They responded to desperate customers who arrived home after a long Thanksgiving weekend to find their house occupied by a half dozen wild turkeys and a tremendous mess. Apparently one crashed through a window and the others followed. I guess turkey day has taken on a whole new meaning for the owners.
When I was 8 years old, my parents invited the priest from our church over for Thanksgiving dinner. Before we ate, my mom thought she would impress the pastor by asking ME to say grace. Put on the spot, I didn't know what to say. As everyone joined hands, I slammed my hand on the turkey and shouted "BE HEALED!"
My first husband and I got married in 1963, when I was 17 and he was 19. I had always dreamed of having my own home and husband to care for. Instead of going to family for Thanksgiving that year I roasted my first turkey. My dad was the cook in my family and I watched him many times prepare the bird. He always put cheesecloth on the top and basted it frequently. Bud and I made the stuffing and got the turkey ready for the oven. We didn't have any cheesecloth but we did have a red bandana. We put the bandana on the turkey and popped it in the oven. We basted it later and put it back in to roast some more. By the time of the second basting, the color from the bandana had bled onto the turkey! I am now 59 years old and have never baked a prettier turkey!! It was delicious too.
My funniest Thanksgiving memory has to be the time when our outside cat, "Puff-Puff," climbed up a tree and onto a branch that hung over our roof. He navigated around the roof of our story-and-a-half house until he found an open window, snuck in, and found our unattended Thanksgiving turkey sitting on the dining room table, waiting to be carved. Needless to say, he made a feast of that turkey before my mom walked in and busted him. The cat jumped out the window, and down that tree with the turkey flying after him (my mom threw the turkey at the cat). Back then, during the '70s the stores all closed for the Holidays so there was no buying another until the next day. That was the Thanksgiving where the cat had turkey and we didn't!
This Thanksgiving story could be put into the worst and funniest category. My mother comes from a large family, five brothers and one sister. When we were younger, all the siblings would gather at my mother's house, spend the night and enjoy a long Thanksgiving. My Dad and uncles went out into the garage where they found a cattle prod. They then decided to shock each other to see how it felt (how redneck). When they shocked my youngest uncle, it sent him into a seizure sending us to the emergency room for Thanksgiving. The ironic part is that years later, I married an EMT's son and his father was one of the EMT's that responded to our house that Thanksgiving. They had just set down for dinner when the call came on the scanner, "seizure from cattle prod". We had never made the connection until I told him about my worst Thanksgiving, which happened to be his too.
The best Thanksgiving dinner was 1987 in Honduras while deployed with the U.S. Army. The local children were brought in to the base to eat Thanksgiving dinner at the Grand Opening of our Dining Facility. By the time the kids got through there was literally nothing left for the troops to eat except some desserts and some bread. Normally that would have upset me. I was away from my family and now I had no Turkey Dinner. That soon faded when I saw the expressions on the children's faces. This kid normally had nothing, but today was like no other day in their life. Some had to borrow clothes that they could wear to come to the base to have dinner with the American soldiers. I realized then just how lucky my family and I are. I finally understood the meaning of Thanksgiving.
Back in the '70s my sister and I picked up a huge fresh turkey at the local Safeway that our Mom had ordered. We brought out dog in the car with us. She was a ten pound, blind Dachshund. We left "Heidi" in the front seat of the car while we ran a second errand. When we returned to the car, the breast of the raw turkey was gone! Heidi had leaped over the back of the bench seat into the backseat and polished off the turkey! Boy, was our mother mad.
On Thanksgiving we have always split up what everyone provides for the dinner. One year my grandparents were bringing the Turkey. When we went to carve the Turkey it was frozen solid! We ended up going to KFC and getting chicken.
When I was newly married I went to my ex-husband's house to have Thanksgiving with his family. This included my daughter, his sister and her husband, their two children, and their grandmother of eighty-plus years. Everyone was seated at the table. I wanted to be accepted in this wonderful family and decided in order to attempt to acquire that honorable status, I should carry out the large brown luscious smelling turkey and place it on the table. I picked up the tray and also a large silver serving fork and proceeded out of the kitchen into the dining room. When I passed by "Granny Fudd," I accidentally brushed her hair with the serving fork only to find I now had a silver colored wig dangling from the utensil. I had speared Grannie's wig right off her head! My face turned crimson, but my embarrassment soon faded as the entire clan burst into peels of laughter.
My funniest Thanksgiving was when I was a child living in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We had 20 or so people over, so my mother decided to cook two turkeys, one in the oven, and the other on the gas grill. Both turkeys were finished and my father went out to get the turkey off the grill. It was cold and a little rainy out, so dad was hurrying the turkey into the house. Next thing we knew, his foot hit a patch of ice and the turkey went flying! Only a few of us saw it happen, so we grabbed it, took it in the kitchen, and washed it off. We served it alongside the other bird, and the guests raved about the grilled turkey. They just didn't know about a little secret seasoning that was used. We still laugh about that day every Thanksgiving.
Some friends purchased a new camp trailer right before Thanksgiving, so we decide to all go camping for the holidays. Unfortunately we didn't realize the turkey wouldn't fit in the camper's oven until we were out in the "boonies". Not to be done out of a turkey dinner our friend wrapped the turkey in foil and ran over it several times with the truck until it was flat enough to fit into the oven. It was very tender.
I was 11 years old; my brothers were 9 and 7. Mom had made dinner, but she had to work Thanksgiving Day. My brothers and I were very close and we played "a lot". We were ready to eat, I grabbed the turkey which was still in the roaster and took off through the house and up the stairs with my brothers running as fast as they could behind me. About 3 stairs from the top my foot caught the tip of the stairs and we witnessed the bird take flight. It flew across the hallway and hit the door of my brother's bedroom. We laughed so hard, we cried. We had to get everything cleaned up and back to normal before Mom got home. We never told her about the "flying turkey".
Not sure if this holiday was worst or funniest. Many years ago dishwashers and ovens had large lock levers at the top. Grandmother was always after Granddad to lock the dishwasher so no grandchild could open the door. Granddad was "helping" with Thanksgiving dinner. We had pulled the turkey out for basting; Granddad returned the turkey to oven and proceeded to "lock" the turkey in the oven. This "lock" was the self-cleaning cycle, and the oven could not be opened until the temperature dropped. We turned off the power, pulled the oven away from wall and then removed the outside oven case and door to get to the now very well done turkey.
Thanksgivings at my parents' home in tiny Marengo, Illinois, are tons of fun and a little crazy, needless to say, thanks to my fun-loving dad, Larry. Thanksgiving is an all-day event at their house, and everyone on both sides of the family participates. (About 30 people and growing every year!) Every Thanksgiving is a different theme. Past themes have been Pajama Party, '50s & '60s Rock 'n' Roll, Wild West, Beach Party, Murder Mystery Dinner, and yes, we all dress our part. This year our theme is "Vegas, BABY!" We are dressing up and playing Vegas games, including a poker tournament and roulette as we drink famous Vegas Cocktails! The day begins with morning mass at 9, a walk in the woods at 10:30 and dinner at 1. After the dishes are done, everyone changes into their afternoon/evening "theme" attire and the fun and games begin!
I have a fond and funny memory of one Thanksgiving when my mother, attempting to do something innovative and new, decided to BBQ our turkey. There it was in all its glory stuffed with an incredible shrimp stuffing that we had prepared that morning. It took several hours to roast the bird on the BBQ and it smelled incredible. I could hardly wait. When the time came to take the bird off the spit my father carried in the turkey and we saw that sometime during the cooking process the thermometer inside the bird had broken!! Our lovely turkey was filled with mercury from the thermometer and was completely inedible. We were so hungry by then that we raced to our freezer where we promptly found some frozen hamburgers. We feasted on burgers and fries that year.
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