No pardon for the turkey

Published 3:30 pm Tuesday, November 21, 2017

It depends upon your political persuasion as to the meaning of the annual Thanksgiving tradition of pardoning the turkeys. Turkeys for Thanksgiving have been sent to the White House since the 1870’s when a Rhode Island turkey farm owner began sending them.

Individuals could send turkeys to the White House for a while, but in 1947, the tradition was taken over by the National Poultry and Egg Board.

The tradition of pardoning the turkeys and allowing them to live out their lives with their necks intact was supposedly begun by President Truman, but not exactly. In 1948 he received two turkeys for Christmas and remarked, “These will ‘come in handy’ for Christmas dinner.”

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President Kennedy was the first to truly begin the “pardon and reprieve” action for Thanksgiving turkeys and it has been a part of the season ever since. The first President Bush made a big deal out of saying of his first opportunity, “Let me assure you that this fine tom turkey will not end up on anyone’s dinner table—he’s granted a Presidential pardon as of right now.”

Which brings us up to this year. President Trump prides himself on being the most unpredictable president of all time. As of this writing, Trump has not had a pardoning ceremony, but he did issue a tweet.

“I will not be issuing a pardon for these turkeys. I want to make Thanksgiving great again. These turkeys will be stuffed and we’ll have the most delicious Thanksgiving dinner of all time.” Just kidding, folks.

On the other side of the aisle, Senate Minority Leader, Chuck Schumer, Democrat from New York, was asked about the pardoning of the turkey in the White House. “The Donald is the biggest turkey we have ever elected to live in that house. No pardon!”

Meanwhile congressmen, newsmen, actors, and other bigwigs all over the country would like to ask for pardons on behalf of their previous behaviors, but it doesn’t seem the country is in the mood for giving out pardons this holiday season. I know that I am hoping that there is no pardon for at least one big, fat hen.

My uncle has a chicken coop where he has some laying hens. It seems that some hens have passed the age of being able to lay enough eggs to warrant their room and board. It’s time for some new hens to replace the slackers that have quit laying.

My momma heard about this and asked him if he could get one of those hens to Izzy. Izzy works in the pecan business, but also seems adept at wringing the neck of a big, fat hen and plucking all the feathers so that the aforementioned big, fat hen can be placed in a pot of boiling water.

That unfortunate, unpardoned hen will cook down and become a great foundation for some old-fashioned cornbread dressing. I hate it for the hen. After all the work laying those eggs, it would seem to be fair if she could live out her days in restful peace, just like those pardoned White House turkeys.

But no rest for the weary is the way I see it. It’s unfortunate for the big, fat hen, but she just happens to give the right flavor when mixed in with some egg bread, celery and onions, and boiled eggs. The finished product is Southern Cornbread Dressing.

Since it is the season to be thankful, I am thankful that I was born in an area of the world, where we eat dressing and not stuffing. Sorry, big, fat hen, but there’s no pardon for you this year.