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Let me say first off that this is a true story. It happened many years ago, and has become one of those family stories that gets retold almost every year on Thanksgiving.
My mom cooked the Thanksgiving turkey early in the day, and the plan was that we would go visit friends across town, and come back for dinner about 45 minutes later. So, when the turkey was done, mom covered it in aluminum foil, put the covered pan on the kitchen counter next to the oven, and off we went. My parents, my younger sister, and me. Left home alone was one 22 pound Butterball turkey, all the makings for gravy, and vegetables that would only need to be reheated when we got home for dinner. Oh, yea, did I forget to mention that the dogs were left home, too?
Cleo and Kissy were mother and daughter. They were both black poodles and weighed in at about 15 lbs. They were nice dogs, and both of them absolutely loved my mother. They tolerated the rest of the world. They would attack my dad anytime he got in or out of bed, and while they weren’t terribly destructive dogs, I know for a fact that Cleo used to do things out of spite. Leave me home and go out to have fun without me? I think I’ll dig a hole in your mattress. Stay out all day and ignore me on the weekend? Well, I think I’ll just destroy every pillow in the house so that when you go to vacuum up the mess you burn up two vacuum motors.
I think you can see where this is going. Our kitchen in the house where I grew up was early-1960’s Florida turquoise, and if you were an agile French Poodle, you could jump on the kitchen chair, on to the kitchen table and counters, walk across the kitchen counters, dodge the double sinks, and voila! You would find yourself right there on the counter next to the oven. The very special place where a 22 pound Butterball was relaxing under its shiny aluminum foil hat.
When we got home from our visit, imagine the surprise on everyone’s face when upon entering the kitchen, Tom Turkey was lying on the kitchen floor partially eaten and partially destroyed! My mom started yelling. My dad started laughing. And two little black dogs went running for cover under the couch in the family room.
After everything was cleaned up, Tom Turkey’s remains discarded, and we sat down to a dinner of vegetables. No gravy for the potatoes since the dogs had eaten the giblets, too. If you could ask my dad, he would tell you that it was probably the best Thanksgiving dinner he ever had. He likes the veggies the most, and was probably cheering on the dogs for their ingenious behavior. That was of course, until the turkey, and grease, and giblets hit the dogs straight in the gut. I won’t describe what followed for the next couple of days except to say that it involved a lot of paper towels, Lysol disinfectant, and more yelling by my mother.
So. The morals of this story?
- Don’t leave your cooked turkey dinner unattended in a house with a dog;
- If you do leave your turkey dinner unattended, make backup plans for dinner;
- It is always wise to have Pine-Sol or Lysol, paper towels, and a strong constitution on hand if you have mischievous dogs.