Thanksgiving day isn’t only about Thursday and turkey. It’s about family and realizing how lucky we really are. When you look around, you realize there is always someone who is having a more difficult time than you are.
My most memorable Thanksgiving was when my kids were little – two and four years old. My mom and dad and my husband’s mom came to visit for the holiday. As usual, Dan, my husband, was running farm calls and I was seeing the emergencies our small animal clients had. We left the kids at home with the two grandmas and one grandpa.
We assumed that all was safe – after all, both sides of the family had raised three kids each, so two grandkids seemed easy, right? Well, not so much.
Like most people with dogs and cats, you can’t fully trust the pets with food left on the countertop. At the time, we had one corgi, one very hungry all-the-time Labrador, and three cats. Like most people I know with pets that can access the counters – four pets if you don’t count the corgi, we put food in the oven to keep it away from wandering paws.
I had the turkey prepped and ready for the oven. I called the grandmas at a time we estimated would get all of us home in time for a hot turkey dinner. They turned on the oven and started cooking the rest of the meal. About 20 minutes into pre-heating the oven, the two grandmas started to smell plastic melting. Yup. The left-over birthday cake from our son’s second birthday had been put in the oven to keep it “safe” from the pets. The giant circus of plastic on top of the cake was, unfortunately, suffering the ill-fate of melting into the frosting on top of the cake as the oven heated. So, the grandmas immediately turned off the oven and rescued the cake from the heat.
They proceeded to put the turkey in the oven and continued to prepare the meal.
Two hours later, I walked into the house, expecting to smell a feast. Instead, I noted that I didn’t smell turkey cooking. Yup, you guessed it. They turned off the oven to save the cake and, in the fray, forgot to turn it back on. We had potatoes, cranberry salad, veggies, pie, all the fixings. Everything except a cooked turkey.
Fortunately, microwaves had just come to the market at the time. We had our fancy new microwave oven which happened to be big enough to slide the nearly raw turkey inside and within 45 minutes, dinner was saved.
Yes, that Thanksgiving we were all together for our meal. Most years, we have juggled being on call, seeing time-sensitive cases and emergencies, and splitting time between far-flung family locations to be together. Most years, we are not all in the same city. But at some point during the season, we find time to be with our families, share wonderful food, and count our blessings. We are indeed blessed to have great families, wonderful work families, our health, amazing pets, great jobs, and all the food and material goods we need. It’s not about the turkey. It doesn’t have to be on Thursday. It’s about how fortunate we are to have great lives.
-Dr. Marty Greer, DVM