Thanksgiving Turkey Disaster and a Book Update

Thanksgiving Turkey Disaster and a Book Update 

This Thanksgiving story* is now a family classic. Wince, chuckle, enjoy, and please share with me any of your family’s turkey traumas! Check out the P.S. for the latest on my “Staying On the Upside” book progress. So grateful for your support and encouragement!

My sister Rachel and her family had flown in for their annual holiday visit. I wanted to create a special meal for them that included family favorites and a few dishes with a new twist.

As a Food Network junkie, I’d found the perfect kicked-up side dishes—a sweet potato casserole that included cinnamon roasted bananas and a risotto recipe that was actually barley-based with vegetables.

But, the star of the show was to be a maple-roasted, bacon-topped turkey. I’d watched Chef Tyler Florence’s Thanksgiving episode on the Food Network and was impressed with the combination of flavors, as well as the amazing presentation.

It was beautiful.

The recipe included a video with step-by-step instructions. I asked my daughter Brittany, her then boyfriend Brian, and my son Peter, to sit with me and watch the 4-minute, 37-second recording to see exactly how to prepare this festive bird.

We executed each step to perfection. With the side dishes complete, we set the table, including special wine glasses for the teens’ sparkling apple cider treat. After 4 hours and 35 minutes of basting, the turkey was done.

Brian carefully placed it on the table.

“It’s awesome, Sissy!” Rachel exclaimed.

“Wow, Aunt Becky! You outdid yourself,” her daughter, Ashley, added.

Then, all 6 feet of my nephew, Adam, grabbed his glass, thrust it in the air and bellowed, “Cheers everyone!”

And the unthinkable happened.

Beneath his thundering voice, there must have been a faint crashing sound. But at the time, our first clue of the disaster was Adam’s bewildered face as he slowly lowered his hand, now holding only the stem of the glass.

“Uh-oh,” he whispered.

“Adam, what happened?” I stammered as I rolled my wheelchair closer to the table.

“Watch out!” Brian said. “Glass is everywhere.”

Everyone froze as we realized what had happened. Adam’s exuberant toast had crashed into the low beam of my vaulted ceiling, shattering his glass into hundreds of slivers.

Adam was unhurt, but my prize turkey now glistened with more than a maple glaze.

It was covered in glass.

My mind joined my paralyzed legs as the shock shut it down.

“I’m so sorry, Aunt Becky,” Adam said.

“It’s OK, Adam,” I managed to reply, trying to absorb the scene.

My family quietly began the clean-up of the blanket of glass while the turkey sparkled in all its glory.

“Maybe we can clean it off,” someone suggested.

But a closer look revealed embedded glass. I postponed the inevitable, sending the wounded bird to the top of my washing machine while we pulled out lunchmeat trays I had prepared for the next meal. At least the side dishes were safely in the kitchen.

Somberly, we began our hodgepodge dinner. “Someday, we’ll laugh about this,” someone said. I nodded and smiled, knowing it would not be that day.

But after dessert, we wandered back to the laundry room and gave that glorious bird one last look before we bid it farewell to the trash can.

I haven’t looked at that turkey recipe since that day — until now. Maybe it’s time to try that recipe one more time.

And make sure Adam has a plastic glass.

My best – always,

Becky  (Nana B)

P.S. Update: “Staying On the Upside”

  • Format: A daybook of 365 stories that inspire, encourage, comfort, or make you think.
  • Timeframe: Quarterly check-ins with you until it’s off to a publisher!
  • Progress: I’m half way there! Just finished entry # 183.
  • Process: I’m batching 5000 words at a time to my editor. Holding those until all are completed, and then revising.
  • Key word that’s keeping me going:
    Key word that’s keeping me going: NEXT

I’ve learned I have to stay singularly focused on the NEXT column. I’ve chased a few ideas and wasted tons of time creating REVIEW piles of new ideas and archived pieces. Not helpful, at least at this stage. I have to be specific and label one column as NEXT to keep moving.

During one bout of over-reflection, I created four review piles and yep, “analysis paralysis” hit. (I do wish there were a better term for that, given I’m paralyzed—UGH! You CAN get a lot done, despite paralysis. I’m open for a better word-choice if you have suggestions!) Anyway, I didn’t write a word for nearly three weeks!

How did I fight that battle? I went back through my editor’s notes from previous submissions and renewed my focus based on her comments. I now read each potential piece with his question:

How will the point of this story enrich the reader’s day?

If there’s not a clear answer, it’s NOT NEXT. I keep reviewing until I find at least one NEXT piece and put that blue sticky on it. I may not write every day, but every day that sticky reminds me of what’s next when I am ready to write.

That’s it for now. Hope you have a wonderful Thanksgiving! I’ll be checking in with a book update on or before March 1! Meanwhile, keep the thoughts, prayers, and encouragement coming. I value every morsel!

*This column was originally published as part of my “From Where I Sit” series in the Towson Times

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