By Jim York
One of the perks I was privileged to experience while in the active ministry was to have delivered to our door, at Thanksgiving time, a frozen turkey. It was always a surprise when this occurred, even though it happened often enough that it would not be out of the ordinary for us to have anticipated such a thing happening.
If my memory is correct, I believe this has occurred in all of the active ministries in which I have been involved. I have no recollection of the organizations from which the big birds came, but I have a fond memory of having received them. Although we were in most cases past the time when we would have been turkey-less, as we were in our student days, they were always gratefully received.
While I had little to do with the process that was involved in bringing the bird to the table ready to eat, it was always my privilege to perform the surgery to separate individual portions for those hungrily awaiting their tasty share.
Sometimes those waiting were just our own family members, but on numerous occasions, we had the pleasure of sharing our fare with relatives and friends. I have always been grateful for the fact on those special days that I did not have the responsibility of putting the big bird to sleep, as I had on the occasion of another dinner when we had been given, by a parishioner, another member of the fowl family, and it had fallen to me to detach the unfortunate bird’s head from its body.
One thing I am very grateful for is the fact that by the time the gift birds began arriving, we were far enough along in our time of marriage that Agnes had learned a good deal more about the art of cooking. So, I did not have to fear a repeat of that first occasion when it fell to Agnes to prepare a bird for our table. (I have written of that event earlier.)
It did take awhile for me to feel comfortable in eating that portion of our meal that we call dressing. The reason for my discomfort was the fact that I was aware when my mother put together the dressing for our meals that she used, as part of the ingredients, some of the internal parts of the turkey, such as liver and gizzard, which were unacceptable to me. I was not sure whether Agnes would use such ingredients. Today, I enjoy dressing very much because I have become confident that those unwelcome parts are not used.
I am not actually aware of where my choice of turkey meat came from, but to this day, if I can avoid it, I will eat only the white meat of the bird. From the earliest recollection I have of eating meat of any kind, I was apt to turn up my nose at almost any part of an animal or fowl. The only explanation that makes any sense to me was that while I was too young to be aware of it, I must have gotten sick from eating some kind of meat, and that became the determining factor in my dislike of meat.
This phobia of refusing to eat meat lasted into the early days of our marriage. There were numerous occasions in our early days together when Agnes would be reduced to tears when I would refuse to eat of a meat dish she had spent hours preparing. Fortunately, those days are behind us because I have relearned the pleasure of eating at least some of the meat Agnes puts o nthe table, although the white meat of the turkey is still the only part of the Thanksgiving bird I will readily consume.
That brings us to the dessert. I will eat just about any dessert that is put before me. My favorite, of course, is pumpkin pie, whereas a dessert that includes meat as a part of its ingredients gets the same cool reception from me. I won’t eat mince meat pie. Who knows, in the future I may change my mind and find that meat pie is something I will come to like.
In our present circumstances, living at Wesley Homes, the meat we most often are served happens to be turkey, so I’m glad that my dislike of meat in general is long gone, and I can enjoy that part of the turkey that is without color.