Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thanksgiving Tale

I don’t think I have ever written down the story of George Edwards and the turkey before; but I have told it every year during the holiday season with the usual reaction; disbelief. But, I’m here to tell you that it really happened, and though I was not present at the time these events occurred, I can state that they were related to me by both his wife and children.

This was Thanksgiving Day 1992; which was about 20 years and a lifetime ago. It was like any day at the Edward’s house-hold; George was not drinking anymore; at least not until 4 PM. He would, by that time have consumed several packs out of his daily carton of Parliaments. I’m not kidding; a carton of cigarettes on one match. Do the math. 6 minutes to a cigarette at 20 per pack is 2 hours times 10 packs is 20 hours. Throw in 4 hours of sleep; which is all he slept; and there’s your carton a day. I don’t lie.
Anyway, back to the story; George was the type who did not believe in holidays and particularly despised the entire period from Thanksgiving through News Years. No one was ever quite sure why; though I do understand him more now that I am older; and anyway I’m sure he didn’t know himself.

So, Thanksgiving Day approached and George laid in an extra few cases of beer and several cartons of cigarettes; content with watching some football on television. But, his wife Anne; a sweet woman, and great cook; had decided to invite friends and family for dinner. He vowed not to come downstairs and join in the celebration; electing instead; to remain upstairs in his pajamas and watch TV.

The guests arrived and after some light refreshment and small talk, began to be seated at the table. The table, I might add, was piled high with food, in the center of which stood; gleaming with juices from the oven; a beautiful 25 pound turkey on a silver tray. Remember this stately bird.
As the guests sat down George bellowed from upstairs; he was a former iron worker in the days before cell phones or even walkie-talkies; “Anne, bring me a beer!” Of course Anne was embarrassed and ignored this request, as well as the two subsequent ones which were even less civil.

Finally, George himself appeared at the top of the stairs, clad in an open robe, wife beater tee-shirt and boxer shorts, shouting, “God damn it Anne, when I ask for a m-f-ing beer I ain’t kidding!” Anne was mortified and tried to soothe him with words, enraging him all the more, until finally; clad as formerly noted, but wearing work boots; he took the turkey from the table and flung it out the door of the house and clear across Benfield Blvd. It landed on the windshield of some poor, unsuspecting motorist, who was last seen staring at the heavens, wondering why he was chosen to receive this gift in the first place; and in such an unusual manner. For that man’s children; who were about 6 and 8 as I recall being told; the holiday has undoubtedly been ruined forever. But I still can’t help but laugh whenever I think of George and the outlandish things he did in the midst of a 30 year drunk.
Eventually, Anne left George and the house on Benfield Boulevard; I bet you didn’t see that coming; and they remained in touch with one another until his death in the late 1990’s. I think of him often, and have not written enough about him. On holidays, which he abhorred, I tend to think of him a bit more. He was a man of many contradictions, and I wish I had a photo of him to post here. But some of the greatest memories in life are not stored on film; or a camera card; they’re in your head, where they can never be erased.

And when Thanksgiving rolls around; year after year; I can see that turkey sailing across Benfield Boulevard, launched by George; bathrobe flapping in the frigid November air; as the guests quietly departed by the side door. And if you think that’s odd; wait ‘til I tell you about the Christmas tree…

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