It’s Just a Turkey

This is post 2 of a 30-day WriteStreak challenge.


Do you & your best friend or family have a salient catch phrase or code word? One that you can drop which evokes laughter or serves as a mooring, a healthy reminder?


When I was in my mid-to-late 20’s & living in Atlanta, I had a fabulous job. My friends at work commented on my “serene & cheerful” presence. Yes, that was & is still is my general disposition, however underneath that calm exterior, I was anything but. In truth, I was totally burnt out from work travel, in debt more and more each month, & emotionally exhausted from trouble in marriage, trying to “fix” things that were beyond my reach.


My parents came to visit for the Thanksgiving holiday. It was the 1st time I had ever roasted a turkey. I was anxious. I wanted it to be perfect. The electric oven in my apartment gave uneven heat. I had carefully calculated the roasting time based on the poultry’s weight. Ding ding! Time was up. Uh oh, it did not seem to be done. I was using an analog meat thermometer, which did not register the desired temperature. It kinda looked done from the outside. I fretted & asked mom and dad, what should I do? I verbally spewed out the possible options. I suffered from analysis paralysis. I was acting as if it was the end of the world.


Dad looked hard a me as he chewed on a toothpick. His feet propped up on my couch. A slow grin spread across his face, Baby, it’s just a turkey, he said. My frozen, stressed out reality melted. Today was about us being together. The turkey was just that.


From that day forward, this phrase became code in all kinds of contexts: Let’s not overcomplicate this. Hey, are you all worked up over nothing? Maybe, it is no big deal. It does not have to be perfect. It’s not that important. So remember to pause and breathe. Consider. It’s just a turkey, or if you prefer vegetarian…just a tofurkey.

Today’s post musical accompaniment. From the soundtrack as I emerged from this turkey phase: Radiohead, There There. Thank you for the recommendation back in 2003, Michael.


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