The Winds of November Remember
by Debora M. Coty
I love the homey smells of November, don’t you? The crisp, wood-scented wind nudging the last of the crimson leaves off the big maple out front; the pungent odor of someone’s leaf-burning fire down the block; cinnamon-spice of hot apple cider simmering on the stove; the savory scent of nutmeg wafting from Harvest Bread warm from the oven.
And of course, the mouth-watering aroma of turkey roasting. Mustn’t forget the turkey…like my friend Scott, who did just that on his first Thanksgiving as a newlywed. So new, in fact, that his blushing bride, Linda, was still trying to impress his family (and we all know how soon that wears off!)
In her zeal to prove her culinary prowess, Linda invited Scott’s parents, married siblings, and their innumerable offspring to Thanksgiving dinner, to be served at 1:00 p.m. sharp on the big day.
Excitement and big plans buzzed in their heads. Scott and Linda shopped together for the plumpest turkey they could find and cleaned out a spot in their freezer to nest the 20-pound bird.
But then, in the flurry of decorating the house and preparing dessert and all the side dishes for their first big family holiday event, they somehow forgot about defrosting the turkey. The night before Thanksgiving, they both slept well, with visions dancing in their heads of smiling, well-fed relatives nodding their approval.
Rising early the next morning to pop the turkey in the oven by 8:00, Linda was jarred awake at first sight of the frozen solid poultry. Uh oh. It didn’t respond in the least to running water. She shook Scott awake. Help!
By 9:00, they had cranked the faucet hard to H and although a lovely steam bath was produced, the bird was no more pliable than a cement block.
Too big to fit into the microwave, Scott had no choice but to submerge the foul fowl in a bathtub of warm water. Next came the shower massage. The turkey, who was feeling no pain and probably very grateful for the lovely massage, was still obstinately ossified.
By 10:00, Linda was in full panic. Scott parked the bird on the kitchen counter and began pounding it with a hammer. It was like trying to drive spikes into the Arctic tundra.
While Linda dialed the Butterball hotline (yes, there is such a thing!), Scott decided the least he could do was remove the bag of giblets in preparation for whatever miracle the Butterball people were bound to give them in order to begin the roasting process.
He could see the giblet bag, tantalizingly close but stuck fast to the inner walls of the stubborn bird. Grabbing a knife from the drawer, he began trying to chip the stiff bag off the frozen innards. When it wouldn’t budge, he marched out to the garage and returned with his toolbox. It was time to play hardball.
Linda, who had been on HOLD with the Butterball people all this time, burst into tears as Scott braced one foot on the edge of the counter and clinching the ornery frozen guts with his handy dandy vise grips in one hand, pulled with all his might while attacking with a long-handled screwdriver like Norman Bates’ knife.
The turkey flew off the counter like an over-inflated football and scored a field goal through the kitchen doorway goalposts with Scott scrambling after it like a halfback recovering a fumble.
At that moment, the doorbell rang. The first of the hungry dinner guests had arrived.
Linda mopped her eyes and ran to the door while Scott tried to corner the slippery entrée. Lo and behold, one of the petrified legs jiggled a bit. He stopped in his tracks. Rotating the turkey around, he couldn’t believe his eyes. Why, there was a big hole in back, between the legs of the monstrous bird!
He had been trying to wrestle the giblet packet out of the neck hole!
Like Scott and Linda, you and I have planned for perfect holiday events, only to find how outrageously imperfectly things can turn out, despite the most thorough forethought.
It’s like visualizing your post-game baseball victory celebration with two out and a full count, then accidentally beaning the batter and looking up to find David Ortiz on deck with the bases loaded.
As believers, during the stressful demands of the holiday season, it’s immensely comforting to know that when temporal things go wrong, we can turn to the authority for things of eternal value. He will help, perhaps not with uncooperative turkeys, but surely with our attitudes that result from disastrous pursuits and food fiascos. These rotten attitudes infest our most important relationships and tear down our living testimonies of Papa God’s power in our lives on the nitty-gritty, down-in-the-trenches level.
How freeing it is to recognize that we need not relentlessly strive—and inevitably fail—to depend on our own clever stratagems. ”Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight,” (Proverbs 3:5-6, NIV).
So this Thanksgiving, when you’re basking in the comforting aroma of your sweet potatoes and succulent roast turkey, remember Scott and Linda. And be truly thankful.
Papa God may not reverse the forces of nature to solve our frozen turkey dilemmas, but He will provide grace and peace to laugh about it.
Debora M. Coty is a popular speaker, humorist and award-winning author of the Too Blessed to be Stressed line of inspirational books, including the brand new Too Blessed to be Stressed Cookbook. Mother of two and Mimi of three, Debora lives, laughs and loves in central Florida with her longsuffering husband of 37 years, Chuck, and desperately wicked pooch, Fenway. Visit Deb at www.DeboraCoty.com
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