Imagine if you will…I’m a young adult, hosting my very first Thanksgiving. My whole family is en route to my home for Thanksgiving. I am so excited; I can’t wait to roll out this traditional southern Thanksgiving dinner. I just know Mom will be so proud of me. You must understand my mom was one of the best cooks on the planet. I can’t say she ever really taught her kids to cook…but somehow I picked up the skills. And now…it was my turn to prove I could do it all.
As the preparations and cooking progressed it certainly smelled like Thanksgiving. Having family there made it so special. I made sure no one entered MY kitchen lest my surprise of being able to do it all on my own be spoiled. Everyone kept remarking on how good it smelled and I was prouder with each passing moment.
I set the table with my best dishes, flowers, the works. I asked Dad to do the honor of carving this absolutely golden brown turkey I had prepared…all on my own.
It was time. Everyone gathered at the table. We said grace and gave thanks. It was time to carve the turkey. Dad grabbed the fork in his left hand, the knife in his right, and began to slice…and the strangest expression appeared on his face. I watched his curious concern develop, wondering about the cause. Then, he leaned over to peer closely at the turkey…and looked up at me. My heart started to pound; my mind spun. I jumped up and ran over to him, looking at the turkey, in the very spot that had caused his dismay. I gasped and said to myself, “The turkey has cancer.” Then I looked up at everyone and screamed, “The turkey has cancer!” I was mortified. I thought, “We cannot eat a turkey with cancer; Thanksgiving is ruined!” But everyone was laughing hysterically. I felt as though I was on another planet. I was already nervous about the turkey being edible, but to see this thick, grey matter growing in the chest of this otherwise perfect turkey? “I’ve never seen a turkey with cancer,” I proclaimed and everyone’s laughter only got louder.
My mother leapt to my side to console me, while biting her lip to control her laughter. With her most serious face she said to me, “Belanie, the turkey is fine, Sweetheart. Those are the giblets. You did not remove them from the turkey cavity; they have baked inside the turkey. Your turkey does not have cancer.”
I was overwhelmed by this added level of embarrassment. What’s worse, that I left the giblets in the turkey or that I am screaming that the turkey has cancer? To this day I have never seen a turkey with cancer. Is that even a thing?
Every Thanksgiving, as I remove the giblets from the cavity of the turkey, I hear the laughter of my family and smile in amazement at how fast the years have passed. And I only have one regret. I wish we had that moment on video because I am sure it would be a winner on American’s Funniest Home Videos.