I’ve always thought it would have been great to live during the American Revolution. To have lived when Washington, Adams, Jefferson, Franklin, Hamilton, Madison, Henry, etc… were making the decisions that we still live by.
What an unusual number of great minds to have come together at one time to put together the greatest nation ever on the face of the earth.
But somewhere during that time, a decision was reached that is hidden in history. And that decision was simply this: should the national bird be the eagle or the turkey? Well, we all know the result. The eagle is our national bird and there is evidence of it everywhere.
But at this time every year, the turkey comes out of the closet, and most of us could not sit down to an eagle for Thanksgiving dinner. Although there is some debate over whether Ben Franklin even fought for the turkey as the national bird, it is true that the debate between the turkey and the eagle was hot and heavy. And we know who won.
My favorite holiday has always been Thanksgiving. No gifts to worry about, no decorations to worry about, no cards to send, and I could go on and on. Just a day when families get together just to enjoy each other and to eat good food.
I cannot remember a Thanksgiving that went bad. But there were some that stand out.
Our church had a festival the Saturday prior to Thanksgiving. Turkeys were raffled off, and here is the best part — the turkeys were alive. I never ever won anything but I spent my last quarter trying to win a live turkey. You guessed it … I won a turkey!
I wrote a book about “My Pal Grubby” who had 10 brothers and sisters and no bathroom. Hence the older kids called him Grubby. Not too bright but a great personality.
Grubby and I walked the turkey home and my mother went crazy. We tied him to a fence post in the yard. Grubby could not leave that bird alone He played with it, fed it, and I think slept next to it.
One day he decided to take Mr. Gobbles for a walk and it got away. For the next two hours we tried to catch that bird. Up on posts, roofs, up and down streets it was a circus.
He finally wore out, as did my dad, and half the neighborhood and was caught. Grubby was forbidden to go near that turkey.
Dad got the turkey prepared for Thanksgiving dinner. He was a monster. He barely fit in the pan, both legs hanging out. It looked like a drunk in a wheel barrel! Grubby joined us for dinner and it was a success.
One last note… That Friday morning after Thanksgiving, our grade school football team played an early morning game. In one of the huddles, Grubby got sick — and we were visited by that turkey again.
Our entire huddle slid to the right leaving the turkey, dressing, dessert, etc. on the ground! We had turkey leftovers for the next month, but I could not look at that bird without seeing Grubby in that huddle.
Tony Lamke of Wilmington writes a periodic column for the News Journal. He can be reached at [email protected].