Missing Turkey

by Linda Stollings from Edmonton, AB
Dec 20, 14

This story takes place on a cold November evening, forty years ago. 

A 12-pound turkey was roasting on our family barbeque, the fixings were prepared, and the Royal Albert china was set for 8.

As the party progressed, my dad went to give the bird a final glaze. But he was stunned when he opened the BBQ to find only a pile of burning coals. No turkey in sight. No bird. No spit. No nothing. Presuming there was a practical joker in the crowd, Dad came back into the living room, now a din of excited chatter, and asked, “Okay, who’s got the bird?” The confused guests had no idea what he was talking about.

Knowing that the close-knit neighbourhood was filled with possible culprits, Dad went on a mad dash to a variety of homes asking about his turkey. His prime suspect, Jack, was not at home. 

In what was now a frantic state, Dad brushed by Jack’s wife. He sniffed the air, and said, “I smell turkey!” 

He followed his nose around the house. He ended up in the laundry room where he even opened the washer and dryer looking for a hidden bird. 

Jack’s wife followed him, insisting that Jack wasn’t there and that they didn’t have his turkey. My Dad said he didn’t believe her and checked their house a second time.

Finally, after exhausting his search, and his dignity, Dad made his sad and bewildered way back to his home of hungry guests. Mom valiantly brought out two cans of luncheon meat - and asked those who lived nearby to got home and check their pantries to round out the meal. 

Dinner was served, a great time was had by all, and, “The Story of the Turkey” was born.

Years later, I made friends with the girl across the street. The youngest of six children, and the only girl, she had crazy stories to share. One day, she regaled me with the tale of how her mother had once found the carcass of a turkey, complete with spit, under their basement couch. Although her brother Bob was a key suspect, nobody would ‘fess up to the origins of the bird. So their family had a “Turkey Story” too. 

Knowing that these two stories had to be connected, I warned my friend NEVER to tell my folks as I was sure the result would have been a family feud that would could have severed our friendship.

Fast forward a few decades … my parents are sitting in their living room one evening and they heard a knock on the door. 

Dad answered it and found a large man with a bundle under each arm. 

“Mr. Stollings?” said the man at the door. 

“Yes?” my Dad said, gingerly. 

“Mr. Stollings, thirty years ago I stole your turkey. I’ve come to bring it back.” It was Bob. My friend’s older brother. He was holding up a 30-pound bird.

“I’ve brought this too,” he said, in his other hand he had a large bottle of Canadian Club Whiskey. 

Bob explained that years back he and a friend were coming home from skating when they smelled the delicious barbequing turkey. Hankering for a snack - they stole the bird - spit and all - and devoured it. 

Why did Bob confess after all those years? Well, Bob now had children of his own. He wanted to set his transgression straight in order to teach his children to always own up to the things they’ve done and to make them right.

Bob was invited in, and Mom and Dad sat teary-eyed and talked about families, and times past, and times ahead. 

The bird had grown in the years between its disappearance and its resurrection, and so too, did our family’s “Turkey Story.” 

Since then, the story’s epilogue has been told to everyone who knew the original tale and it has brought many “good” tears and a sense of peace knowing that our lost turkey finally came home to roost, or roast as it were.