by Lisa M. Prysock
Disastrous moments may strike, but one never knows how much joy the memories of something gone wrong can bring us in the midst of the situation. It’s all in the attitude with which one views the circumstance. The example that comes to my mind is a story I should probably share at Christmas time, but for some reason it’s on my heart and mind to share it now.
One year my mom prepared a turkey for our Christmas Dinner. It was all ready to roast in the oven except for needing a little extra thawing time. She washed it carefully, buttered it, seasoned it, stuffed it, and placed it in a roasting pan. She then placed the roasting pan aside. Now, at the time, our kitchen was very small. Thinking back, I don’t know how she managed to prepare the many delicious meals she prepared over the years in that tiny kitchen. For lack of counter space and having a full refrigerator filled with pies, Waldorf salad, green bean casserole, and all of the other wonderful trimmings to go with our holiday meal, mom placed it on top of the fridge to finish thawing. In retrospect, that was probably not a very good idea as we were about to discover the next day.
Mom went to work the next morning while our turkey was roasting in the oven. As we were on school break and being latch key kids, my sisters and I were to keep an eye on the delicious feast and stay in the house. A few hours later, we were alarmed that we couldn’t smell the usual delicious scent of roasting turkey. Our noses were overcome with a different smell altogether. Something not quite right was roasting in that oven. I phoned Mom at work and explained the situation. She decided we should throw it away as the house was being overcome with the petrifying smell of a bird gone wrong.
Throwing out a large and very hot turkey is not as easy as one thinks it will be, as I was soon to experience. We quickly realized the turkey would melt the trashcan liner and that throwing it away inside the house wouldn’t rid the house of the awful smell; even though we had a lid for the trash can and had opened the windows to air things out. We quickly realized we had to find a way to dispose of the turkey outside.
I was about the age of eleven or twelve. That turkey weighed about one-third of my own weight at the time. I barely had the strength to get it to the front door. My plan was to throw it out in the woods, about a hundred yards from the front door. For some reason, I don’t think I had thought of using our outdoor trash cans, which might have been ideal at least temporarily. Maybe they were full at the time. We just knew that smell was putrefying and we had to get it out of the house.
By the time I managed to carry that extremely hot and heavy pan to the front door, I was losing my grip on it. The hot pads slipped out of my hands and yes, you guessed it! S-P-L-A-T! That turkey slid right off that pan and onto the front porch! I was splashed by hot turkey juices that burned my skin a bit. Now there was no way to enter the house without stepping over a huge turkey and sliding around in hot turkey juices and squishy stuffing. By now, I was becoming a bit desperate. As I looked down to survey the situation, there was stuffing, a turkey gone splat, and turkey juices all over that front porch and the door threshold. I also quickly realized just how greasy and slippery turkey juices are when they first come out of the oven, and believe me when I say this particular instance was no exception. The whole area was a slippery, hot fiasco. Everything at my feet was steaming hot and burned to the touch.
How to pick up a large, hot turkey on the ground without sustaining injury is another matter that there is no handbook for. I realized I was going to have to be creative. That horrible smell was still wafting up into our faces and the heat was so intense it was going right through our hot pads.
“Go get the shovel…” I heard myself say to one of my sisters.
One of my sisters brought the big metal snow shovel from the garage and the other helped me roll that turkey onto the shovel. We were laughing so hard we could barely manage this task either. This was not only hilarious at this point, but absolutely hysterical. Somehow, amidst the laughter, we managed to roll and push that steaming, hot bird onto the shovel. Then we had to pick it up together, and run it carefully so as not to drop it… to the woods. We were kind of hoping a neighbor might have come to our aid during this unbelievable scene at the time, but at the same time… I admit we were kind of hoping no one saw us. One sister took one end of the shovel and I took the other while the other looked on from the front porch fiasco.
We never made it into the woods, but we did make it to the edge of the woods before that turkey slid off the shovel as we were carrying it. There it landed again. S-P-L-A-T! This time it landed in the grass. We were about five feet from the edge of the woods and five feet from someone else’s driveway (which we’d had to cross over to get the woods). We decided this was the best we were going to be able to do and left it there. We made a run for home where we had a big, slippery mess to clean up at our front door.
The next day, our grandparents came to Christmas Dinner as planned. Mom had replaced the turkey with a lovely meat and cheese tray. It wasn’t the same, and we were all a bit disappointed, but there wasn’t much else we could do about it. As Grandma got out of the car, we pointed to the remains of that turkey, laughing, trying to tell her about what had happened in-between our fit of giggles. She looked amused and puzzled, but she managed to understand our story and laughed heartily with us.
To this day, my sisters and I can’t tell that story without laughing the whole way through. We’ve had so much laughter in the retelling of it. The turkey story has turned out to be one of the funniest memories my sisters and I have shared over the years. Even Mom laughs with us! It has brought us more joy than if we’d had the usual, ordinary, mundane holiday feast. I suppose we could have let it ruin our holiday and had a good cry about our Christmas Dinner being ruined. We didn’t though. We just laughed and laughed about that turkey incident!
There are two morals to this story: 1) Never thaw your turkey on top of the fridge! 2) If you have something that seems disastrous happen to you, just keep on making the best of it, look on the bright side, find the humor in it if possible, and very soon the sun will come out and shine!
Lisa M. Prysock lives in the countryside of beautiful, rolling Kentucky just outside of the greater Louisville area near horse farms and four board fences with her husband of 19 years. She homeschools the two youngest of their five children (three grown). She and her husband live in an average, two story, Colonial style home they are continually updating– with a funny looking Heinz 57 dog; an adorably dainty lady cat; two teenagers; a vegetable garden; numerous flower beds; and a tree house undergoing a remodel. When not in teaching or writing mode, she is teaching herself to play the piano and violin. In regards to that, she laughs: “It’s a pretty painful process, but I’m truly enjoying it!”
Lisa loves all things old-fashioned and has adopted a slogan of “The Old-Fashioned Everything Girl.” A few of her interests and passions include doll houses, long dresses and hats, gardening, reading the Classics, butterflies, swimming, walking, working out, cooking, sewing, crochet, cross stitching, arts and crafts, scrapbooking, decorating, and drawing. Recently, her husband remodeled a room in their home with a picture window overlooking a valley which contains a creek and wooded area, transforming the space into a serene and sublime writing office/sewing room. “It’s a great source of peace and inspiration for me… and pure joy not to be writing from the busy kitchen amidst the household chaos on a laptop. Growing teenagers eating every five minutes makes for a constant stream of happenings!”
Lisa is an Amazon bestselling author of To Find a Duchess, an Inspirational Regency Romance; a Victorian Christian Romance Series which includes Hannah’s Garden: a Turn of the Century Love Story and Abigail’s Melody; and ‘The Lydia Collection,’ which includes The Redemption of Lady Georgiana (a Ruth love story of modern day Regency proportions), Protecting Miss Jenna (an Antebellum Era Christian Romance Adventure), and Persecution & Providence (a ‘Jane Austen-ish’ mail order bride story from the Pioneer Era). She is also the author of a devotional/Bible Study, Arise Princess Warrior and recently released The Shoemaker, an Old-Fashioned Regency Christmas Romance. Lisa writes clean and wholesome literature that shares her faith in Jesus Christ. She is a member of ACFW and Louisville Christian Writers. You can find out more about Lisa at: www.LisaPrysock.com