Big Bird Day

Two years ago I walked through Grand Central Terminal. Thousands of passengers were striving to catch a train home for Thanksgiving. My sister had invited her family feast outside of Boston. I have to work on Friday and opted out on the holiday exodus to spend a quiet day at the Fort Greene Observatory.

I made myself eggs and toast for breakfast.

My options for a turkey dinner are limited to the buffet at Frank’s Lounge.

It’s only a few blocks from my house.

That afternoon millions of mothers were putting on the final touches for the big dinner.

As a youth my Thanksgiving mornings were consumed by peeling apples, potatoes, turnips, carrots for our eight family members and another 5-10 guests.

My older brother called it ‘KP Day’.

After the turkey was done, my mother would extract the the crispy-skinned carcass out of the oven and order me to carry the big bird out the garage. Why was never explained to us.

One Thanksgiving I obeyed her command.

The garage door was open.

The air was cold.

It wouldn’t take long for the bird to be ready for dinner.

My next-door neighbor came over to the driveway with a football. We had spent the morning at the football game between my hometown and their arch-rivals. The two of us went into the backyard to emulate the day’s heroes. After bobbling a long pass Chuckie pointed to the front lawn.

“What’s with DJ?”

DJ was a neighborhood dog. I was in love with his owner, Kyla. The German Shepard had his entire head was masked by turkey and my mother screamed, “The turkey.”

I picked up a stick from the ground and charged to save our holiday meal. The big black dog fled from our yard with a slobbering snarl, leaving behind a mauled meal. My mother cried, “Where are we going to find a turkey now?”

My father looked at me. This was my fault. I didn’t even bother to explain my side of the story.

When you’re wrong as a child, proving you’re right is a waste of breath.

My older brother and younger siblings thanked me for ruining Thanksgiving.

DJ’s owners paid for our meal at a nearby hotel. The food was good and my mother didn’t have to wash any dishes.

The next day Kyla kissed me on the cheek for not beating her dog.

So even bad Thanksgivings can turn out okay, when life is good and it’s always good to the last slice of pie on Turkey Day.

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