A “Turkey” for Thanksgiving
By T. Myers
A Holiday Tale for November 15th, 2013
If the weather was not so blasted cold it would be easier to get into the Thanksgiving spirit she was thinking. But, it was already hitting annual lows and competing with the coldest recorded season in history back in 1971! She was mildly cognizant of the Musak playing through the speakers overhead but everything was blurry…
Lacey Warrenton stood in the produce area, immobile. Tomorrow was the big day and she was supposed to make Thanksgiving dinner for her friends and family, but, her heart was not in it.
For several weeks the snow had been falling off and on. Shoveling the driveway one or two times every day and brushing down the sidewalks and deck had always instilled a Holiday feeling in Lacey. That feeling would kick start the season and Lacey to do her best to bring on the Christmas cheer. Not now, though. Not this year. This year it just seemed like more hard work. She had to get up early enough to clear the snow, and now that the car heater did not work, she had to walk to work. And she couldn’t afford to fix the car, and with the food stamp cut back, food was harder to get and the birds were flocking to the feeders with a half dozen feral cats who would eat the birds or the cheap food out on the front porch. H-m-m-m-m!
While she stood there, she was thinking about how to stretch everything, pay for the gas in the car when she could see to drive and how she could heat the house for the next few months. It was already hard when Lacey stayed home all of the time.
“A new challenge.” She said out loud.
Today she was a weary as you could get and still stand so it wasn’t surprising when she found herself mulling over the worries and turning into a statue. She just held onto the grocery cart next to the potatoes until some man who startled her as he reached across her to get a bag from the middle of the display.
“Sorry!” she said as she pushed her cart out of his way. She was back and she went over the list of must haves and completed her shopping with the salad items and cranberries, apples, onions and celery. Then she headed for the day old bread, the flour and a can of Libby’s Pumpkin- on sale for Turkey Day. She had the turkey and it was thawing in the sink at home. She would clean it up and get it ready to stuff in the morning. She was going to make fresh rolls and all that she needed was to get the milk, sour cream and whipping cream. Done!
“Did you find everything?” the perky clerk asked as Lacey unloaded her cart and nodded yes. Lacey handed her the recyclable green bags for her purchases.
“I am good, thanks,” Lacey spoke.
“All-righty then! Here you are,” the happy clerk said as she handed Lacey the receipt after making the payment transaction.
Lacey followed the young box girl out to unload the groceries into the trunk of the car. With that she drove home where she unloaded everything into the kitchen before downing a couple of Tylenol. The coffee was running through filling the air with the wonderful scent of fresh coffee and as soon as she poured out the first cup, she took care of the turkey and took it out to the back porch where it would be cool enough overnight. The coffee cooled enough to swallow it all in a couple big gulps and she filled her cup again and added a big glug of milk when she heard a friendly knock on the door. Cup in hand she went to the front door. It was her dear neighbor.
“Hi, Lacey, I am just stopping to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and ask you to do me a favor.” Emmie said brightly. “We have just decided to go to Klamath Falls to the folks’ for the day and I need you to take all of the stuff I have been cooking up off my hands. We are leaving before dawn and Mom will be insulted if we bring anything to one of her feasts. So… what do you think?”
“I suppose so, Emmie. But can’t you freeze the stuff?” Something in the back of Lacey’s mind was coming to the surface.
“No, not really. It is ready to eat and fresh and I know you have company coming, it would be a real favor.”
“Okay. Sure. Thanks!”
“I will be right back.” Emmie opened the door and ran out to the car through falling snow and returned with a huge box and two shopping sacks. She handed the food through the door and stomped the snow off her boots.
“What is in here?” Lacey asked with amazement. She opened the big box and it was full of Tupperware.
Emmie moved in to help unload the bags and box. “Here are fresh cranberries, and these two are pumpkin pies and this one is an apple pie. Here is the Waldorf salad and this one is my fruit and nut dressing. This sack has fresh butter rolls and butter and there are plenty for leftover turkey sandwiches. This sack has the dressing. It is ready to bake for 50 minutes at 375.”
Lacey mouthed a thank you and sat down at the table piled with goodies. Emmie hugged her pal and breezed out as fast as she had come in.
“See you Sunday night,” Emmie said over her shoulder. “Don’t spend all your money on Black Friday!”
There were still containers that she had not opened. Orange glazed carrots, creamed onions, and a jar of apple butter. The only thing Lacey would have to do is cook the turkey and make potatoes and gravy –tomorrow.
It was after she had peeled the potatoes and put them into salted water and was eating her way through the cheese sandwich she made for dinner when she remembered what was in the back of her head about Emmie’ s family going to Klamath Falls for the holiday weekend. Emmie’s oldest had told her they were going three weeks ago. “Oh, Emmie! God bless you!”
Her neighbor was saving her. Emmie had cooked up a storm just so she could bring it to her friend to help her out.
“I love you Emmie,” Lacey said out loud and she started to cry. “I will be able to get some sleep and be rested for tomorrow- all because of you!”
She finished the rest of her sandwich and half an apple and started to set the big table. Before long she was actually singing along to the radio as she polished the silverware, set out the goblets and plates and folded the cloth napkins. By the time Lacey had put candles in the candlesticks she found that she was full of joy. When she sat down in front of the TV to watch the Thanksgiving Special it took all of two minutes to fall sound asleep.
Some kind of weird noise woke Lacey up right past midnight. She was not sure what it was and she listened again.
What then? There it was. On the porch? Yes, a soft scratching noise at the front door. Lacey peeked through the curtains onto the well-lit porch and saw a very small, shaggy little dog looking up at the front door. She could also see that the temperature on the thermometer was only eleven. She was getting company!
Lacey unlocked her door and pulled it open and the tiny dog came right in and sat at the edge of the rug facing her. From looking, she could see that the little animal was injured. “It looks like someone threw you out of a moving car. You are all skinned up.”
The dog stayed still.
“Come with me and get a drink of water and then we are going to see about cleaning you up.”
The tail wagged a little. The dog watched her carefully.
“Come,” Lacey said softly and she walked back to the kitchen where she ran the tap and filled a small bowl with water. The dog was right with her and enjoyed a hearty drink before sitting again.
“Can I pick you up little one?”
She reached down and gently lifted the injured dog up to look at the big skinned patch without hair on the dogs side and then she saw the tiny feet all scraped and bleeding. “We are going to get you into a nice warm bath and soak these poor little feet. Its okay little girl. I will help you feel better.”
Lacey continued to babble words of gentle encouragement to the little dog as she soaked her in the bathroom sink, using peppermint soap to clean her. With a pair of scissors, she cleaned away the mats and hair around the paws and the wound on the dog’s left side. She dried her by patting her with a soft towel and then she bandaged the paws with gauze bandages soaked with antiseptic cream. For the wound on the side, Lacey applied some triple antibiotic salve to keep it moist and then she wrapped her up there, too.
“You are not whimpering or flinching or anything,” Lacey said with amazement. “You must be a very grateful girl to let me do so much to you when you do not really know me.”
When she found a soft throw and a large basket, she set up the makeshift hospital bed so the little lady was comfortable and she could be carried without hurting her feet and side. The dog took a look around and curled into a ball- while in motion down the hall to the family room. When Lacey stopped, the dog sat upright and began to stare at Lacey. It took all of two minutes to pick her up, cover her with the throw Lacey was using and settle in with her new gray guest on her lap so they could watch late night TV.
It was nearly seven in the morning when Lacey woke to discover the little dog shaking its head to get her attention.
“Want to go outside?”
The dog reacted and she carried the little girl to the patio slider. “I don’t know about these bandages, but let’s see what happens.”
The tiny dog had to be lifted down to the snow covered yard, but in a matter of five seconds, she looked up at Lacey to help her in.
“What a good girl you are,” Lacey said as she chucked the little dog under the chin. The dog leaned into Lacey as they went back inside. “Are you hungry?”
The big round black eyes got bigger as Lacey opened the fridge to see what she had. A hot dog and cheese and eggs came into view and Lacey set the dog in her basket and began to cook some scrambled eggs with cheese and then she cut up the hot dog to cook as a special doggy side!
The breakfast was gobbled up by the two of them and the little dog slept while Lacey prepared the last foods for her company. They even got to watch the parade! By the time that everyone arrived, it was time to eat. The tiny dog sat next to Lacey on the floor, eyes on the forks being moved through the air but, she never made a sound.
“You are sure a good girl,” Henry said. “When did you get her, Lacey?”
“She showed up in the middle of the night,” Lacey replied.
“I was just wondering if she is the dog that is missing from the car accident over on the Highway last night.”
“Yeah,” Henry’s son explained. “There was a couple driving up to the Humane Society with six dogs from the Sacramento area and a semi ran right into them. Killed the couple and the semi driver is dead, too. But the hard part was the dogs being thrown out of the vehicle. They found one and it was too late for him. Four more were picked up, but one went missing. Dad can call over to find out about it after dinner.”
“I suppose so, Henry,” Lacey said sadly. She was already in love. She looked down at her little friend and there was the tiny gray dog, sitting up moving her tiny bandaged feet in a begging motion. Lacey scooped her up and held her for the table to see. “I think that this little girl needs me to help her. I really love her already, though.”
Everyone at the table nodded their heads. The young man who lived two doors down said, she looks like one of those trussed up birds with the white papers on her legs. Everyone laughed.
“Are you my little turkey?” Lacey asked. And apparently she was, because the little dog barked and then howled in response to the word turkey several times.
Henry had gone to the phone and checked into the fire department to see about the tiny dog. “Guess what folks?”
Lacey waited for the bad news.
“They found the other dog. This one is a stray,” Henry told the group.
Lacey just looked at the little dog that was staring back at her and said, “Well, I guess I got my Thanksgiving turkey after all!”
The dog responded with some little yaps of joy and Lacey’s friends and family members got up to give the new little pal some pats and greetings.
“How about some pie, everyone?” Lacey asked as her new friend was being patted and passed around the table.
The tiny dog gave a long howl followed by a few short barks.
“And a piece of apple for you, too!” Lacey said as the dog reached for her with both bandaged paws.
The rest of the story went like it had evolved over night. Things looked up for Lacey and her new friend. No one came forward to claim her dog, so she settled into her new home, happily!
Before long Lacey and her Thanksgiving Turkey were known all over town as the two best disciples of cheer in the city, making everyone in the area feel better about the holidays. They were always ready with a convenient visit, a howl or bark of real appreciation and a joyous tail wag of seasonal cheer. The man at the garage fixed Lacey’s car. Her boss gave her more hours and before long the dynamic duo was ready to take on the New Year.
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