Joanie loves to decorate for the holidays, and Thanksgiving is no small matter in her household. For many years she has collected small turkeys- some arrived as gifts, some arrived straight from an antique show, and many of the little beasts arrived with salt and pepper in them! “Beware- do not use salt and pepper from tabletop display! It may be 50 years old” She carefully wraps each one each year in old newspapers or tissue, and packs them away until the next year when they all come out of hibernation to once again march along the mantel, the entry table, the hallway tables and dinner table. There may be 40 or 50 or 100- she quit counting years ago- like her Easter bunnies but that’s another tale to be told at a later date. Her turkey flock is of an admirable size.
Her tables groan under the weight of china and crystal, perfectly pressed linen napkins, flowers, candles, wine and delicious food. She works for day on end, with her son and granddaughters, until it is all… PERFECT! Seeing her family and friends at her home is so fulfilling- to her that is her real gift of the holidays. She likes it all finished beautifully and attends to each tiny detail. She dusts the turkeys before placing them on the table and always attempts to pair them up- she is quite the matchmaker.
So, you can imagine drama in the house the year that the turkeys made a run for it- maybe they had seen a movie about lemmings, she isn’t sure, and chaos unfolded in the hallway. CRASH- first, the giant gilt mirror broke loose of its moorings (drat! she should have used bigger hangers…), heaved itself onto the hallway table and flipped over onto the turkey parade. One by one they leapt to their fate, until nothing remained but a pile of cracked and broken poultry. Oh no oh no! She felt terrible and hoped that they died quickly and didn’t suffer, but then, tidy as she is, went to cleaning it all up and throwing them in the trashcan. After all, it was almost dinnertime!
This is where her dear Paul comes in: What do you think he did in the middle of the night in one of his many and legendary nocturnal wanderings? He rescued the birds from the trash, picking through the cranberry sauce and soiled paper towels and cans and carefully lays out the pieces of those that could be resuscitated. And so, for days after the holiday they sat together, carefully piecing the birds back together- trying to match them up as best they could.
So, now, each holiday that Joanie takes the birds out of their little swaddlings she remembers the year that Paul saved the birds. She walks over and gives him a kiss on the top of his head as his sits in his chair reading. Amen and good night.