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The Day Before Yesterday: 135 - Frightened By A Turkey

...Meanwhile our nosy cat, sensing the activity in the hut, crept stealthily to the door and began to sniff the prey. At that moment the turkey gave a large call, as only male turkeys can. The poor cat almost jumped out of his skin and shot into the kitchen, giving the hut a wide birth for the rest of its occupation...

Gladys Schofield recalls the Christmas when the turkey tried to escape.

To read earlier episodes of Gladys's life story please click on http://www.openwriting.com/archives/the_day_before_yesterday/

Christmas came quickly after Mark was born. Cliff knew a man who reared turkeys and was asked to go and choose his own while they were still running around the farm. Of course he chose the largest one. He had taken David with him, being a few days off Christmas he intended to keep it alive for a while. Don't ask me just how they got it home. I only know its legs were tied together while obscuring its head in a sack. It travelled in the boot of the car.

I could not bring myself to look at the poor thing, so kept well away inside when they arrived home. They put the turkey into the hut that not long before had housed David's hens. It didn't seem to mind this and peace reigned for a while.

Meanwhile our nosy cat, sensing the activity in the hut, crept stealthily to the door and began to sniff the prey. At that moment the turkey gave a large call, as only male turkeys can. The poor cat almost jumped out of his skin and shot into the kitchen, giving the hut a wide birth for the rest of its occupation.

Their next problem now was how to kill the bird. This would prove to be a hard task. He was much too large to wring. David assisted again, the rest of us keeping out of sight. They brought its lifeless body into the kitchen and put it on the table. It was too big to go side to side and had to be placed end to end of the table. Preparing it was my job. I had had plenty of experience of this job with the hens, he was a lovely bird.

I said we had two fire side ovens, the lower one cooked things more slowly. We decided this would be the best way to cook this big bird and eased the contents of our largest roasting dish through the oven door. We had to struggle to close the door catch but he went in. This was late Christmas Eve, he should be nice and tender in the morning.

While this was going on, the youngest member of our family was happily laying on the rug in front of the warm fire, kicking his legs, waiting for a bit of attention before being settled down for the night. The girls had settled early on this special night but we had to prepare as much as possible. Both Grandma's were coming for Christmas dinner.

After the turkey had been cooking about half an hour, it forced the oven door open. The poor thing had had enough evidently and wanted to get out. We found the bird had swollen as he started to cook. Cliff managed to force it shut again and we had no more problems but we always remembered the Christmas the turkey tried to make a quick exit.

Rod and David had finished early at work being Christmas Eve. The ceilings in this house were far too high for me to hang the trimmings, so the lads had taken it on themselves to do the job for me. I drew a line at having them up the stairs and on the bedroom landing, as had happened a year or so earlier when Alan gave a hand. They had finished work with a few drinks and were certainiy in a festive mood that time. I think the bedroom would also have been bedecked if I had not come home at that moment. This would be our first Christmas without our eldest son, already his bedroom had been taken over by Susan.

Rod, the ever hungry one, would miss him, for one reason anyway, quite often at meal times Alan would phone to say he was eating out. Rod would say "Goodie, can I have his dinner too". I wouldn't care but he never altered in shape or size. He could mimic the different nationalities to a tee. Whenever he came home, he was funny, especially his 'Indian Gentleman'.

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