One tough turkey.
The Potters were hopelessly running behind. "Tomorrow's Thanksgiving, and we're in a bind!" wailed Matilda. "No place has a turkey to buy. The whole town has sold out, and I'm going to cry!"
"Take it easy," her husband, Bartholomew, sighed. "There's still one more market that we have not tried."
But the grocer said, "Sorry, my freezer is bare. Your chances of finding one now are quite rare."
Close by stood an elderly farmer named Zeke. "Stay right there!" he exclaimed. "Shut your eyes and don't peek!" Then away to his battered old pickup he hobbled and brought back a turkey who fluttered and gobbled!
"Ol' Jed here," he said, "is a grouchy old scamp. When it comes to mean turkeys, ol' Jed is the champ! He is old as the hills, so he's bound to be tough, but he oughta be good if you cook him enough!"
Now Matilda was thinking, "A live one? My word! He's wrong if he thinks I'll accept that old bird! Pluck a turkey? Not me! It would take me a week!"
But her husband said, "Great! You're a lifesaver, Zeke!"
So they took the bird home and they locked him up tight in the barn in the back, where he gobbled all night. He attacked and he clawed everything he could find, till he drove poor Matilda half out of her mind!
The next morning Matilda yelled, "Bar-tho-lo-mew! Get the old turkey ready. That's your job to do!"
And Bartholomew said, "That's not much of a chore." Then he went around back to the creaky barn door.
Seems Bartholomew figured the job was a snap, but that grouchy old gobbler was ready to scrap! With a squawk, out the door sailed his fine-feathered friend, knocking Bartholomew end over end!
Matilda was quite unaware of the fight. She was up in the kitchen--far out of sight. Then she heard a slight noise, and she looked up to see her poor husband in tatters, as pale as could be.
"You OK?" asked Matilda. "All finished with Jed?"
"Yep--we'll have him for dinner," Bartholomew said.
There was much to be done in preparing the meal; there were salads to make and potatoes to peel. So Matilda kept cooking straight up until noon, then she polished the silver--each knife, fork, and spoon. Very neatly she set the big table for six, then she added fall flowers and a platter of ... fish.
"Dinner's ready," she hollered, "so pull up a seat! Make it snappy! The turkey is ready to eat!"
Sure enough! There sat Jed in his own special place, with a bib round his neck and a smile on his face!
Illustrated by Richard Hoit