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The Cat Who Ate The Turkey

The story of the frozen turkey, the cat and the Rose Cafe seems to rear its funny head every Thanksgiving. Pardon me if you’ve heard it before, but it’s worth a revisit for a laugh.

Thanksgiving in a house of 12 children meant our mom would get a large turkey or even two, to feed the brood. In the basement of my childhood home was a large, deep chest freezer. At any given time it would be filled with a variety of frozen foods including those cheap but delicious frozen cream pies, pails of ice cream and special buys on pork chops.

A Thanksgiving of my early teens proved to be the one to remember. My mother had taken the huge frozen turkey and placed it on top of the chest to begin the thawing process several days before Thanksgiving. By the grace of God, we all survived this process over the years.

However, this particular year was a first for our family. A day or so before Thanksgiving, my mother went to retrieve the turkey. A scream was heard, peppered with a few harmless curse words. At some point, the family cat had discovered the turkey and had begun to enjoy a pre-Thanksgiving meal. The turkey was ruined and it was too late to thaw another bird.

Our dad made a monumental announcement: We would go out to eat for Thanksgiving. Now, you have to understand, this large family never “ate out” anywhere together except at the oversized picnic table in the backyard. And the only place open that Thanksgiving Day that would accommodate high chairs and assorted ages of kids was the Rose Cafe in Martins Ferry.

Our party of 14 actually rose to include a handful of more children who would join us due to a near-tragic episode with the police officer father of their family. Our cousin was a Wheeling police officer/detective who was shot a few days before Thanksgiving during a shoot-out with a bad guy. He survived but was still in the hospital. Our parents felt his family needed the diversion of having Thanksgiving dinner with us.

And so, dressed in our Sunday best, we had a memorable Thanksgiving dinner that included plates of spaghetti, lots of laughter and a sigh of relief that I didn’t have to do the dishes.

Have a blessed and safe-from-cats Thanksgiving!

Heather Ziegler can be reached at: hziegler@theintelligencer.net.

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