Monday, November 22, 2010

Plucking Uncle Tony's Turkeys

Many years ago, when Uncle Tony owned his little grocery store in Bernalillo, New Mexico, USA, he hired a high school boy to help out in the store.  A few days before Thanksgiving, as the customers flowed into the store, Uncle Tony was becoming overwhelmed. He asked the young boy to go in the back, behind the store and take over for Uncle Ray.

“Tell Ray that I need him up here and that you are to take over for him,” Uncle Tony told the boy.

The boy went out back, behind the store. He heard turkey's gobbing. Looking up, he saw where Uncle Ray plucking a turkey. After telling Uncle Ray what he was there to do, Uncle Ray asked, “Have you ever plucked a turkey?”

“No, I never have,” the boy said, “But I was watching you. It can't be that hard. I'm sure I can do it.”

“Good. Work as fast as you can. We are going to sell a lot of turkeys today. When I get a break, I will come back here and get the turkeys that you've plucked.”

Uncle Ray left the boy with the live turkeys and went into the store, carrying the two turkeys he had just plucked. As he and Uncle Tony worked with the customers, they both noticed a tremendous racket out back. They could hear the turkeys gobbling and screaming.

“What is going on back there in the turkey pen?” Uncle Tony asked Ray.

“I am as curious as you are, Tony. I will go and see when I get a chance.”

When the line of customers dwindled down, Uncle Ray walked out the back door to the turkey pen.
Arriving at his destination he burst out laughing. He laughed so hard, that he could hardly stand up. He immediately turned and ran into the store.

Grabbing Uncle Tony by his sleeve and laughing all the while, he said, “I'll take over the cash register. You've got to go to the turkey pen.”

Uncle Tony was now more curious than ever. What could be going on in the turkey pen that made Uncle Ray laugh uncontrollably? When Uncle Tony reached the turkey pen, he saw the boy, nearly in tears, bloody with scratch marks all over his arms and face. The boy was frantically fighting with a live turkey, trying, with all of his might to pluck it.

Uncle Tony could not believe his eyes, as he too, burst into uncontrollable laughter. “No, no,” he yelled to the boy, “You have to kill the turkey before you pluck it.” Uncle Tony had to grab hold of the post to hold himself up from laughing so hard.

Thanksgiving Trickster

Thanksgiving 1974 was suppose to be a day in which Denise and I were going to get fat on four Thanksgiving feasts. My mother invited us for dinner at 2:00 PM, Denise's mom invited for dinner at 4:00 PM. Imagining our pants to be very tight, we could waddle onto the plane the Thanksgiving meal that the airline had prepared. Upon disembarking, in Salt Lake City, we would rent a car, and drive to Tia Lucia's to top off the day with left overs and desert.

Coyote spirit had different plans.

My mother was really late, which was no surprise because my mother was always late. She told us to go to Denise's parents house. We walked out the front door, trekked across the street and ambled eastward to the fourth house. Denise's mom greeted us and asked us to help. Looking at the clock, after we had been helping Eda Bea prepare the feast, we realized that we needed to leave to catch out flight. The smell of roasting turkey made our mouths water, but to no avail. We had to leave without eating. Peanuts and Coke was the airline's idea of Thanksgiving dinner. Our stomachs growled angrily.

We didn't mind, because we "knew" that Aunt Lucy would stuff us like turkey's with Thanksgiving leftovers.

Ha, ha, the joke was on us, because Aunt Lucy had Thanksgiving dinner at someone else's house, affording Denise and I with NO leftovers. Aunt Lucy feeling sorry for us, fried some potatoes in the skillet.

The final score: Coyote 4, Mushroom & Denise a big ZERO.

I told Coyote Spirit that he was just being mean.

“Mean?” he asked, “I gave you a gift that you can keep forever.”

“A growling stomach is not a gift, Coyote!” I said.

Coyote rolled over on his back, laughing at me. He chuckled as he said, “Look for the silver lining. This is a story that will always make you laugh. And you can't loose it.

I love Coyote Spirit, even if he is a big stinker.