Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Tom Turkey
Thoughts: When I was a little girl, my father participated in our small town turkey scramble. One cold november morning, many men in our little town gathered on the front grounds of city hall. They all looked up towards the mayor standing in the bucket of the ladder fire truck some 20 feet above. He was holding a large turkey, ready to drop it to the men below. At the moment the mayor dropped the bird the men began to scramble and my dad emerged from the pile with the turkey in his arms. My siblings and I were so excited. For the next week we played with the turkey. He had become our new pet! Wednesday morning our dad told us it was time to kill our new pet and get him ready for the thanksgiving feast. How could he do this! We pleaded with him not to do it. Our dad said that he wished that he would have never won the stupid turkey! I think he had become attached like the rest of us.
My sister and I stood at the back door closing our eyes and plugging our ears as our dad cut off Tom's head. When we thought the worst was over, we opened our eyes. To our shock and horror, Tom was running around the back yard with no head! It was more than we could bear. We were so sad.

My dad plucked and my mother cleaned, stuffed and cooked our beloved Tom. When the feast was ready, we all sat down at the beautifully set table. Tom Turkey was set on the platter in the center of the table. Were those still some feathers sticking out from his legs? We all suddenly lost our appetite. The silence in the room told of our feelings. My little sister burst into tears. No one ate one piece of our friend Tom. Not even my dad.

In the spirit of tradition, every Thankdgiving Day someone in our family reminds us of our old friend Tom.

Things: This Tom Turkey hangs in my kitchen during the month of November . He watches over the thanksgiving festivities. It is made of old jackets, shirts and hand dyed wool .

When I saw the pattern I knew I had to make him in memory of Tom.



  1. Joy, I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Actually I think I did both. I would have been horrified to have viewed that scene. I had a story similar to that, where my Mom & Grandma caught a chicken and wringed it's poor little neck. I couldn't believe it I wasn't even 6 because I hadn't started school yet. Then they put him in a galvanized tub to get ready to pluck. I was horrified!

    I loved reading your story. I just love that you made that turkey in memory of Tom. Great job, I love the fabrics.
    Have a blessed night, Tracy :)

  2. True but sad story! Were we that hard up that we had to catch our own turkey? Or do you think Dad got caught up in the moment? Whatever, it was not the best of memories. Kind of like the time he came back from deer hunting and hung the *#&% deer downstairs in the basement. Maybe I can blame my tearful meltdowns on these traumatic moments! What do you think?

  3. I feel a little teary . . .

    as a parent I would have been cursing the double edge sword of catching Mr. Tom as well. Your dad instead caught years and years of a favorite thanksgiving tale -

  4. What a story! I can just imagine how traumatized you all were.

  5. That is too funny Joy! Sami told me to read your blog today - she said that story is told every year, and every year she always laughs at it! You guys have the best stories...


  6. Love hearing childhood stories from the lives of dear friends. I can actually envision a Norman Rockwell painting of the event...at least the "scramble". Thanks for sharing. Can't wait to hear more!-Gina

  7. Joy, This is such a funny story! I love when blog friends share their childhood stories. It connects us all in this big world. Thanks for sharing today! Your Tom Turkey is cute in his wool feathers! Elizabeth

  8. My grandpa was a farmer and I remember being served chicken and knew it was running around in the yard the day before. I like to get my meat in little white plastic containers and never think about what it actually is or where it came from. Mimi

  9. Joy this story is so sad but the others are right, it is funny too. How sad to kill poor Tom and I can understand no one wanting to eat him. I couldn't have either. I remember when I used to live with my grandmother we used to raise chickens to eat. We would put a huge galvanized tin over the bodies before cutting off the heads. That way someone could sit on the tin so it didn't run off without a head. We never made pets of the chickens though. We were too poor for that. I like the picture you made of Tom with the pretty wool felts.