Thursday, November 24, 2016

Modern-day Thanksgiving Traditions – Buying the Free-range Turkey

      After years of living in Indiana we discovered the wonders of the farmers market that set up every Wednesday afternoon during the summer about a ½ a mile from our house.  After hanging out there and getting to know some of the farmers, we discovered that we could get a free-range turkey from one of them for Thanksgiving.  After experiencing the goodness of the produce that we found at the farmers market each week, we decided that we should try one of these turkeys for Thanksgiving.
      This is how to buy a free-range turkey directly from the farmer who raises it:
Sometime in mid-October email the farmer and order the turkey, telling them what size you want.  They will confirm your order and tell you that they will email you sometime in early November as to the arrangements for pick-up and payment.  The email arrives in November and they tell you to meet them at a particular time on a particular Saturday in the parking lot where the farmers market is set up during the summer.  You bring your check to pay for the turkey.  We had lived in Indiana long enough for this not to seem strange. 
     So the day came.  It was gloomy and chilly and a little damp.  We drove to the parking lot of the park.  It was not long before a small SUV pulling a tiny trailer pulled into the parking lot and stopped right next to us.  We got out of our vehicles and with smiles and greetings and a small amount of conversation we handed over the check and the farmer handed over the frozen turkey in a bag.  After a few words of instructions on how to cook the turkey (not the same as a store-bought, hormone-filled one), we wished one another a Happy Thanksgiving and got in our car and went home with our turkey.
     One year when the email came telling us the delivery date we discovered that we both had commitments and would not be able to be at the parking lot at the proper time.  We called our barely young adult daughter to go pick up our bird.  She agreed.  We gave her all the instructions and she seemed fine with it.  When the time came I got a phone call:

Daughter:  “Mom, I’m sitting here in the parking lot and they haven’t come yet.”
Me: “Don’t worry, they’ll come.”
D: “How will I know that it is them?”
Me:  “Don’t worry, you’ll know.”
D: “Okay. Bye.”

A few minutes later the phone rings again.
D:  “Mom, what kind of car will they be driving?”
Me:  “I don’t know.  I think it was a jeep or something.  Last year they pulled a little trailer behind, but don’t worry you will know.  Besides, who else is in that parking lot this time of year?”
D:  “Well, there was this lady who pulled up and parked.   As she got out of her car I got out and walked over to her.  She looked at me funny when I asked her if she had my turkey.  She was there to go for a run.”
Me:  (trying not to laugh out loud) “Ok, but there probably aren’t that many other people there, right?”
D: “Yes!  There was this other woman who pulled up.  I got eye-contact with her and smiled.  When I started to get out of the car, she put her car in gear and moved to another parking spot across the lot.”
Me:  “Wow, who knew so many people would go to the park on a gloomy day like today.  Last year there wasn’t another car.”
D:  “But, Mom, this is embarrassing.  It feels like a drug-deal or something!”
Me:  “Yeah, I know.  Don’t worry.  They’ll be there soon and you can go home.”
D:  “What if they don’t come.”
Me:  “Don’t worry about it yet.”
D:  “Okaaay.  Bye.”

Several minutes pass and I hear nothing.  Several more and I begin to worry.  Finally, I call her:
Me:  “Did they come?”
D:  (cheerfully) “Yes!  I got the turkey!  No problem!
Me:  “Okay.  Thanks!”
D:  “Sure!  No big deal!  Gotta go.  Love you!”
Me:  “Love you, too!”

And so we had another wonderful turkey dinner that year and a great story to tell for years to come.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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