Thanksgiving Turkey Disaster Now Family Folklore

Thanksgiving Turkey Disaster Now Family Folklore

This week’s inspiration comes from a story* that is now a family classic. Wince, chuckle, enjoy, and please share with me any of your family’s turkey traumas!


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, her boyfriend, and my son 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.

My daughter’s then boyfriend, Brian, carefully placed it on the table.

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

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


Happy Thanksgiving! May this year’s family gatherings be exuberant, turkey trimmings remain edible, and meals sparkle only with love.

UPDATE on Adam: Eleven years later, he and his wife (married in March) will be hosting their first Thanksgiving with extended family today! Good luck, Adam and Maggie! Can’t wait to hear about your turkey “adventures.” Love you! Aunt B.

Good luck, Adam and Maggie!

My best – always,

Becky  (Nana B)

P.S. Oh, and don’t forget that Giving Tuesday is December 3. Opportunities (beginning with $10!) for Pathfinders for Autism’s campaign are listed HERE with the online donation link HERE. In celebration of our upcoming 20th Anniversary, our goal is $20,000. AND, here’s a sneak peek of our new 20 for 20 Ambassador Program. Let me know (reply to this email) if you’d like to join us.

20 for 20 Ambassador Program

P.P.S. I had a great visit with Madison last week. She continues to do so well. Thanks for remembering us!

I had a great visit with Madison last week.

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

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