Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Chick Lit Cheerleader: Giving Thanks

Introduction by Tracey Meyers

Thanksgiving is a time for counting blessings, and amongst mine is that I have the honor and pleasure of calling Jen, Mike, Ryan, Will, Gracie, Jack and Henry Tucker my friends.

Last fall, on a bit of a whim I randomly decided I wanted to participate in a 5K race that was taking place in West Lafayette, Indiana.  Though I had only (virtually) known Jen Tucker a matter of a few weeks, I e-mailed her about my idea to participate in this particular race and asked if I could spend the night at her home afterward.

Yep, that's right folks! Not only did I ask someone if I could intrude on their life for a night, but I asked someone I hadn't even met before, someone who had never met me, if I could stay in their home for the night.  Jen didn't blink an eye at my request.  With much enthusiasm (and trust - which I'm sure she doesn't always do) she said yes.

From the moment I stepped into their home, the Tucker clan showered me with so much kindness and love.  It was if I was stepping into the home of old friends.

This year on Thanksgiving, as I count my blessings once again, I will be sure to say thanks for the friendship and love CLC's Chick Lit Cheerleader, Jen Tucker, has shown me over the past year and for our continued friendship.

Giving Thanks

Have you ever wondered what becomes of turkeys pardoned each year by the president? Do they live out their days playing Rook and Canasta at a turkey retirement village? Do they go on the travel circuit, giving sold out, standing turkey only, inspirational speeches on how they cheated death? Some of you might think these freed birds missed an opportunity to serve their country gracing Thanksgiving tables across America. Others might not think twice, and wish their non-flying friend a peaceful, brine wash free life. Wait…did I just say “non-flying?” You know that’s not true, right? I have firsthand knowledge of a turkey in flight! I swear it as truth on a jar of cranberry sauce.

Thanksgiving 2004, we hosted our friends, Pete and Melissa Staffelli, at our home in Indianapolis, Indiana. The four of us have been joined at the hip since we met on our respective honeymoons in 1993. We were assigned to dine at the same table for meals on our cruise; the birth of a beautiful friendship. We’ve spent countless holidays together, watched our children grow to love each other like cousins, vacationed as an ever expanding ensemble and experienced life’s highs and lows supporting one another. Our inside jokes are endless. Our relationship endures.

Pete and Mike appointed themselves The Grand Poobahs of Turkey that year. Actually, it was nice having two culinary whizzes take over the kitchen. Melissa couldn’t make the trip for work related reasons. I was recovering from emergency gallbladder surgery, so it made perfect sense for me to watch the cooking, and Thanksgiving Day Parade, from the sidelines of my couch. Someone needed to provide the boys the play-by-play for the Snoopy balloon, right?

The boys (Pete and Mike concur they remain in the never grow up category), set up Turkey Central in my laundry room. The roaster oven setup to cook the bird to a bubbly perfection, leaving the kitchen for culinary magic to commence. The duo cranked out three choices of dressing, buttery mashed potatoes, beautifully blanched green beans and enough rolls to make the Pillsbury Doughboy giggle. Mike and Pete took turns checking on the bird between whipping up the rest of the menu; basting like clockwork, charting the internal temperature, and analyzing the fowl’s golden brown coloring. Eventually all their plotting and graphing led to the conclusion the turkey was finished. Now came the tricky part: how to get the bird from the roaster.

A Thanksgiving meal with the Staffellis

*The story you’re about to hear is real. The participants are not actors, nor MENSA members.*

From my supine position on the couch, I heard tough negotiations and strategies. I’d witness one of them emerge from the laundry room from time-to-time, rattle around in the kitchen drawers, only to return bird-side to renegotiate the scenario with whatever gadget was the flavor of the moment. With a game plan intact, they got busy. And from the quiet emerged screams and cussing like I hadn’t heard in my lifetime. The turkey had flown and crash landed onto the flowered wool rug.


It turns out Mike and Pete decided to go with the option of stabbing the turkey with serving forks, thinking that was the safest mode of transportation towards the awaiting platter. They were wrong. The forks bent, the turkey crashed back into the roaster. On the second attempt, Mike decided to lift the stainless steel rack holding the turkey from the roaster. He grabbed the metal edges; the turkey shifted and took flight. In a moment of desperation to save it, Pete attempted to catch our airborne bird. All he caught were some painful burns on his hands. We laughed. Pete sobbed. We hatched a new plan for the bird that almost got away and none of our guests where the wiser.

If you know me, there are a few silver linings from this story I want to share with you. I try to find them in the craziness of my reality. First, when a turkey, plus gravity, impacts with the floor, it debones instantly. Take that Bill Nye the Science Guy! Next, cooked turkeys do rinse off quite well. Just don’t add soap. Third, Pete learned sometimes rather than grab on to things out of our control, it’s best to let them fall where they may. A good life lesson, right? And last, but not least, this gave Santa a hint as to what Mike Tucker needed in his stocking that Christmas; little turkey pitchforks.

That, my friends, is the tale about the year the turkey flew. I hope you’ll share your funny stories with us at Chick Lit Central about your holiday mishaps too. We love to gobble them up!

Toasting to a--hopefully--less chaotic Thanksgiving this year!

Jen Tucker is the author of the funny and true stories, The Day I Wore My Panties Inside Out and The Day I Lost My Shaker of SaltIn September 2012, she had her children's book, Little Pumpkin published as an e-book. She also blogs monthly for Survival for Blondes. She currently lives in Indiana with her husband, three kids and two dogs. You can find her at TwitterFacebook, her blog and on her website. And in case you missed them. check out her previous Chick Lit Cheerleader posts here.

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