Revenge Of The Turkeys



This is the time of year when turkeys eat it. More accurately, it's the time of year when people eat turkeys.

But you get our drift. It's not a good time to be a turkey.


Ben, a turkey who calls Round Valley home, is one ugly bird -- especially up close. But then, who eats turkey face anyway?

Unless your name is Ben or Jeri. Then you're a pet turkey living the good life in Round Valley.

Ben is the turkey you see on the cover of this issue, and he makes a fine poster boy for the cause of turkeydom. That's because Ben is so ugly you have to think twice about ever eating a turkey again.

But you won't find Ben complaining about his looks. He's just grateful that he's not going to end up gracing somebody's dining room table.

The overwhelming majority of turkeys, however, are not so lucky. And while nobody ever said life was fair, we thought that this Thanksgiving Eve we would cast our lot with the world's turkeys by recounting a few of the times that turkeys have emerged victorious on Thanksgiving Day.

So settle back, as the aroma of roast turkey wafts all around you, and enjoy our little Thanksgiving gift to you and yours. We call it "Revenge of the Turkeys."

The stories you are about to read are true, but the last names of the Roundup staffers who lived them have been omitted to protect the identity of those who allowed themselves to be bested by lowly turkeys, and so Molly's mother will not get mad at her.

Carol's turkey horror story

"My good friends Lora and Harry gave me an enormous turkey to make for Thanksgiving. Plans changed and the fat bird sat freezing in my mother's chest freezer until a few days before Christmas when I, following the directions on the wrapper, placed it in my refrigerator to thaw.

"The morning of Dec. 24 I thought I was going to have frostbitten hands trying to remove the innards. I bagged the bird in plastic and let it soak a few hours in hot water. It still felt icy inside.

"With my limited (once, years ago) turkey baking experience, I stuffed it, figuring what the heck, it will just take longer to cook.

"It did.

"Fortunately we had a ham to eat as well Christmas day because on Dec. 26 it was finally time to take my polar bird out of the oven.

"I was so disgusted I took it to my mother. She said it tasted fine, but if I never bake another turkey again it won't be too soon. Please, pass the stuffing."

Jim's turkey horror story

"Back in my days of naivete and innocence (when I was still married to my first wife), we were in the midst of a normal Thanksgiving Day in Michigan -- the turkey was cooking away in the oven and the Detroit Lions were taking their annual Thanksgiving thrashing on TV.

"At some point, however, the aroma of fresh roasted turkey seemed to diminish. Opening the oven for a check on the bird revealed that it was no longer emanating heat.

"Yes, on the worst possible day of the year, the oven element had decided to die. After overcoming the sense of panic and dread that had overtaken us, we managed to nurse the turkey to climax using the broiler element. It was a mighty crisp bird, but it was, at least, edible."

Molly's turkey horror story

"It was 15 years ago, and there are six of us children, so there were probably 15 to 20 of us for Thanksgiving dinner. My mom inadvertently left the insides in the turkey in the plastic bag.

"I just remember that it smelled kind of funky while it was cooking and my mom was really upset because she was trying really hard -- she was a single mother raising six children. It cost a lot for her.

"We ate it anyway so she wouldn't be sad, but now I cook the turkey for her on Thanksgiving."

Teresa's turkey horror story

"When our father abandoned us, we celebrated Thanksgiving with a turkey roll. It was kind of like a composite of I don't know what. It was like chunks of white meat and dark meat compressed.

"There were some hard times on a teacher's salary -- four girls and my mom -- and that's what we could afford. I think we had to do it a couple years."

Bobby's turkey horror story

"Back in Texas, my brother-in-law bought a smoker and made his first attempt at smoking a turkey. Instead of just putting one or two hickory chips in it, he put a whole pile. We drove over for Christmas dinner and as soon as we got to the front door we were hit by a massive stink of a smell.

"They couldn't even smell it, so I searched around and finally opened the oven where they had this turkey warming. It just reeked of hickory.

"I cut a little piece off of it, and it was so bitter -- so bad -- we had to go down to Albertson's and get fried chicken."

Having read these true stories, you may think the term "horror story" is a stretch. But you would be amazed at how many Roundup employees claim to have produced nothing but perfect Thanksgiving dinners.

While we believe most of them are suffering from a common psychological condition called selective memory loss, we cannot prove it. Maybe they are all as perfect as they claim to be. Besides, we warned you up front that turkey victories are few and far between.

We even asked Diane, to whom Ben and Jeri belong, if she could share a turkey horror story. The best we got was about the time her dog took a pumpkin pie off the table and broke her mother's favorite pie plate.

But we are deeply indebted to Diane, not only for letting us photograph her turkeys for this article, but also for somewhat reducing the level of guilt we should all feel as we devour our Thanksgiving turkeys.

Because right here in the Rim Country at least two turkeys have escaped Thanksgiving Day.

May you all have a joyous holiday, and don't forget to remove that plastic bag full of innards.

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