Let’s Talk Turkey!

I once decided to become a vegetarian. My meatless journey began on January 1st of the new year and I did just fine as month after month passed. I learned how to order in restaurants and how to cook at home so that I would get the right amounts of the nutrients I needed to stay healthy.

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But then, Thanksgiving rolled around and I suddenly became a carnivore again. I simply couldn’t resist the mouth-watering smell and taste of the oven-roasted turkey on Thanksgiving Day.

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And, I’m not alone. According to yesterday’s Smithsonianmag.com website, 90% of American dinner tables will serve turkey this Thanksgiving. Total turkey production for Thanksgiving 2017 is 245 million birds, with the average weight of the turkeys purchased at 15 pounds.

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In case you are wondering where all those turkeys come from, Minnesota is the top turkey-producing state in America followed by North Carolina, Arkansas, Missouri, Virginia, and my home state of Indiana.

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Thanksgiving (or as it’s commonly called, “turkey day”) is our thankful holiday and a day when Americans gather together with family and friends for an afternoon of food and football to celebrate the blessings of the year. Usually, a roasted, smoked, or even a fried turkey, is the centerpiece of the celebration meal.

It was 70o in Texas last night so we took a bike ride in our neighborhood. It seems like a lot of people have gone straight from Halloween decorations to Christmas ones and have forgotten that Thanksgiving is actually next week. But not at our house. Right now, the turkey rules!

Thanksgiving might be my favorite holiday. I believe it’s important to pay attention to our blessings so we don’t take them for granted. This helps us to be thankful for the people and things we have in our lives every day and not just on Thanksgiving.

I’m very thankful that I’ve been blessed with the ability to write and publish books. During the past week, I’ve had the privilege of reading “The Day The Turkey Came To School” to children at two libraries and at an elementary school. They’ve been excited to hear my story about a turkey and about being thankful for the people in our lives.

Who are you most thankful for this Thanksgiving season? Perhaps you should tell them!

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Author’s note: Three towns in the United States take their name from our traditional Thanksgiving bird. These are Turkey, Texas (pop. 465), Turkey Creek, Louisiana (pop. 363), and Turkey, North Carolina (pop. 270).

Look For The Value

Those of you who read my blog regularly, may remember a post from last June called “The Golden Chairs”. http://www.walkdownthelane.com/the-golden-chairs/

It was about a pair of 50-year-old chairs that my parents gave me recently. They were covered in a golden fabric originally but had been recovered in more recent years in pink.  I was delighted to receive them even though they were old and stained and smelled heavily of cigarette smoke. I knew they would require new fabric and padding but it was a labor of love for me to have them redone.

It took me an entire month of working to remove the 50-year-old varnish from the wooden legs of the chairs and then I sanded them before adding three coats of new stain. After the legs were finished, I took the chairs, along with six yards of fabric, to a local upholstery shop to be recovered.

When we got the call that they were finished and ready for pick up, I was excited but a little apprehensive too. Sometimes a fabric can look different in our hands than it does on furniture. I hoped I had chosen the right colors to update the golden chairs that I had loved so much as a child.

My original “golden chairs” blog post was inspired by my cousin, Jon, who messaged me one day with some ideas for my blog. He suggested I write about finding value in some of the old and broken things in our lives.

He said, “We don’t always have to throw things away just because they are old or worn out. You have to look for the value. Sometimes things can be repaired and repurposed for continued use.” And then he added, “This applies to people too.” Just because people in our lives might be old or difficult to deal with, doesn’t mean we have to give up on them.

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I knew he spoke from personal experience about a challenging relationship with his father. I also knew that instead of giving up on the relationship, my cousin kept trying no matter how bleak things seemed to be between the two of them. And ultimately, they reached a point where their relationship was in a good place.

Jon told a story at his father’s funeral last week about how he would practice baseball as a boy with his dad. No matter how the practice time went, his dad always made him end on a “good play” because that was the feeling he would carry with him. I’m so thankful that their relationship ended on a good play.

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It takes real work to find the value in things and in people who may not appear to be worth our time or effort. It isn’t always easy and sometimes it may be an impossibility. But what if our efforts pay off in the form of a better relationship or a refurbished family treasure?

As we head toward the holiday season where we will come together with our families, perhaps we too, can find value in each person and in the time we have with them. There is so much divisiveness and strife in our world today.  How wonderful it would be to reach the end of the year and know that we ended our festive time with our families on a good play.

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