Turkey Day

Growing up in Ireland means not celebrating Thanksgiving day. It does not mean that we didn’t have turkey day. We had plenty of turkey days in fact.

I grew up on a farm in the west of Ireland in County Galway. My mother raised turkeys for extra pocket-money. She fed them, killed them, plucked them and disemboweled them, she called it “cleaning them out.”

Many was the day myself and my sisters sat at the kitchen table, eating our “well done” dinner and watched our mother chase a turkey around the yard with a yard brush. What’s a yard brush? It’s a massive sweeping brush for cleaning the yard!

When she managed to catch the turkey, and that was the most difficult part of the job, she dangled it upside down, letting its head dangle on the ground. She placed the yard brush across the turkey’s neck, stood on either end of the pole and then pulled the turkey’s legs up in the air, breaking the turkey’s neck; sweet suffering Jesus, I am glad she never tried that with me.

After the turkeys; yes there was more than one, way more than one, hung for a week to tenderise she brought them into the kitchen, one at a time. The bird was laid into the stainless steel kitchen sink and hot scalding, boiling water was poured all over it. The pores now wide open, made it easier to pluck the feathers.

After the bird was beautifully bald, she cut off his head, and then rooted around inside the bird, drawing out all the stuff that kept the poor thing alive. There’s nothing quite like the smell of turkey guts. My mother should have been a surgeon.

So, while you are digging into that beautiful bird, enjoying the delicious meat, spare a thought for an Irish woman with a yard brush trying to catch him. Happy turkey day, except for the turkey.


8 thoughts on “Turkey Day

  1. You’ve given me some great Thanksgiving imagery Loretto! Having done a bit of fishing I can relate to some degree with cleaning a catch. I wonder how many people would still eat a turkey if they had to kill it themselves. I remember my brother telling me about trying to cook live lobsters. Apparently the water wasn’t hot enough to kill them quickly and he had to fight them to keep them in the pot. That was the last time for him. Love the animation.
    Warmth and Peace

  2. Pingback: The Blue Willow Pattern Story | Breise! Breise! Extra! Extra!

  3. Reminds me that we ate a Christmas turkey that my Aunt killed Xmas Eve…gave my Dad a bad case of the skitters! Us kids were fine-probably didn’t eat as much…
    Happy thanksgiving!!

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