Turkey Day


I wrote this for my English class, but since turkey day is just a couple of weeks away I thought I'd post it.

Turkey Day

I awake with sleep still in the corners of my eyes and tiny needles prickling my arms and hands. I shift my weight and wait for the rush of warmth as my limbs fill with blood again. I peer at the clock and heave a heavy sigh. My quilt is warm and comforting and the air in my room has a deathly chill. I cringe as I peel back the covers and gingerly step to the floor.

The bed gives a familiar whine as I lift my weight from it. I gaze out the window at the frost bitten ground and the brilliant sunrise. Its colors are pure and vibrant. Deep burgundy, glowing oranges, soft pink, and a hazy deep blue speckled with stars, all mingled together to create a canvas of beauty.

I stand there for a long moment like a dear caught in the headlights, just enjoying the glitter of the morning. I then lumber to the bathroom with eyes open only a crack. The globes above the mirror burn brighter than the sun and I have to shield my eyes to keep from going blind. I turn on the shower and climb in. The spray stabs me like a million daggers. When I’m finished and open the door, steam spills into the hallway. I scuttle back to my room and dress in a frenzy to keep from freezing. I bound down the stairs as my Dad gives the call to get out to the car. My entire family piles in on top of one another and we start off on our hour drive to Nana and Jaja’s house.

The second we step out of the car the odor of roasting turkeys wafts to our noses and sends our taste buds into over drive. We race each other up the hill and to the door where Uncle Greg is waiting for us with the door wide open and his arms outreached. We all embrace him as we file through the door.

Raven, the extremely hyper black lab, charges at us from out of nowhere like a bat out of hell and gets so worked up she doesn’t know what to do with herself. She’s finally sent out to the back yard where she can run around and let off some energy. The table is set with the silver and china and all the linens are pressed and folded just so. All the nametags are placed already and the crystal wine and water glasses stand empty like little soldiers. The kitchen is overflowing with an over abundance of food. The birds are so browned that they appear auburn. The stuffing is fluffy and smells of rosemary and thyme.

The corn and sweet potatoes are simmering on the stove and the wine is chilling in the fridge. As each family member arrives, there’s a new slew of hugs and kisses and idle banter about how everyone has been and what they have been doing. My sister and I help where we can and stay far out of the way when we can’t. Once the food is ready, the whole family gathers around the table and says a prayer over our food and the bounty that we have been provided.

After the prayer has been said, the children, mothers, and fathers take up their plates and fill them overflowing with sumptuous foods. Then, once they’re all seated and settled in, the few who stayed behind serve themselves. We all take sensuous bite after sensuous bite. There is chatter coming from all sides of the table and mingle to cause a dull roar in my ears. I smile as I catch my Jaja talking to my small cousin, “What are you thankful for?”

“I’m thankful for my family, my puppy dog, and my friend, Emily.” My heart swells with the innocence of everything she said. We sit there just eating and enjoying everyone else for hours and hours.

Our bellies are bulging and the wine is flowing. The younger kids have fled long ago. My sister and I push back our chairs and begin to collect the dishes. As the adults keep talking away, we wash and dry the china and offer coffee while Nana is serving up the desert. We indulge in the charlotte ruse.

The ruby Jell-O perched precariously atop the lady fingers which look light as a feather and golden as the sun. Inside is a downy cream that is infused with sherry. Nana asks, “One finger or two?”
“Two.” I say. I only get to indulge like this one day of the year and I’m going to enjoy every last bit of it. I take the first bite and all but groan with the delight. The sherry dances on my tongue and the Jell-O jiggles down my throat.

I take it in slowly so that I will remember it for another year. After everyone is done, I help to collect the dishes once again. Then I go to the back of the house and see what the kids have been up to all this time. They’re spread out on the bed playing games like Crash Bandicoot and Spongebob Squarepants in Bikini Bottom. I smile and sit down. The youngest of them is starting to nod off and is lying against the pillows trying so hard to fight it.

But finally, his tired little eyes close and his breathing gets heavy. I leave the room and go back to the dinning room. The talk is dry and redundant. I’ve heard it all before. Politics, retirement, all things I care nothing about. I go back to the kitchen and help my Nana, mom, and aunts put everything away.

Three generations all together in one room. One day where nobody dares to fight. When all the leftovers are separated out for everyone and tired little eyes start to droop, everyone starts to leave. We gather everyone up and pile into the car once more for a quiet, sleepy drive home. We snuggle up like puppies in a basket and drowsily and reluctantly climb out at home only to scale up the steps to my warm comfortable quilt and the familiar whine of my old bed as I rest my weight upon the tired springs.

As soon as my head touches the pillows I fall into a deep peaceful sleep and dream of all the happiness of the day. If only turkey day came more than once a year I think as I sigh and drift away up into the clouds of dreamland.​