This morning I woke alone in bed. Mrs. Chatterbox got up before dawn and began working on the feast that is the hallmark of this special day. I don’t deserve having a spouse willing to get up before roosters crow just to please me with a sumptuous banquet, but I’ll accept this gift as graciously as I can.
As I lay here enjoying the aroma of onions and fried pork sausage that will add flavor to Mrs. Chatterbox’s dressing, I can’t help but think back on the best Thanksgiving turkey I ever had. It was shortly after Mrs. Chatterbox and I were married, and even she admits it was spectacular.
That year my parents decided to have Thanksgiving at their house. Mom went out of her way to make everything perfect. The doorbell went into overtime with a steady flow of invited guests. Mom kept popping out of the kitchen to greet the new arrivals, a spatula in one hand and a bourbon and Seven in the other.
At one point Mom emerged from the kitchen with a curious look on her face. I could tell she had a slight buzz going on, usually she isn’t much of a drinker.
“What’s wrong?” I asked.
“Nothing. Nothing,” she said.
Twenty minutes later the same thing. “Mom, something is wrong. What is it?”
‘It’s that darn turkey,” she said. "It just doesn’t look right. I want it to look like Norman Rockwell painted it but, well it looks…weird…”
I went to the oven, donned an oven mitt and pulled it out. When I lifted the lid I burst out laughing. “Mom,” I said, “Just how much have you had to drink?”
“Maybe a bit more than usual. Why do you ask?”
I glanced at the bird in the oven. It looked like a leathery battle helmet from ancient times. “You’re roasting this turkey upside down.”
“Upside down,” my mother exclaimed. “I thought it just had really big wings.”
This was a happy accident because all of the juices from the dark meat dripped into the white, making for tremendous moistness. The turkey split apart while cooking and didn’t look very attractive surrounded by parsley on Mom’s special Thanksgiving platter, but it was the most succulent turkey I’ve ever eaten, excluding, of course, the one my wife is now preparing for me. But if you ask me, all turkeys should be roasted upside down, if you can afford the bourbon.