Let’s Talk Turkey

My father was driving around somewhere on the dark side of the moon in the backwoods of Guatemala dodging potholes big enough to sink his vehicle when he happened upon a turkey.  When I say “happened upon”, I truly mean “upon” because Dad accidentally ran over the turkey, killing it deader than a doornail.

This constituted An Event in the smattering of shacks that made up the village and all the folks gathered ’round to bemoan the recently departed bird and Dad participated in the discussion and the hand-wringing and the offering of condolences to the owner of said fowl.  After a good twenty minutes of discussing how valuable the turkey was to the family, it became apparent that they expected to be compensated for the bird.  It seemed very reasonable and my father is nothing if not reasonable, so a more than fair price was agreed to for the turkey and Dad handsomely recompensed the farmer and everything was sunshine and roses.


Dad walked in front of the car, picked up the lifeless carcass, and threw it in the back seat.  This set off all kinds of uproar and the farmer demanded that the turkey remain with him since, after all, it was his to begin with and he had been harmed in the event.  My father explained that he had just paid for the turkey (and most likely two or three additional turkeys  plus a small goat) and he wasn’t going to be deprived of what had been rightfully purchased.  I don’t really remember the details of the subsequent discussion, but I do know that at the end of the day, my dad prevailed and he proudly walked into our house with a ginormous dead fully feathered turkey, ready for the pot.

Our house helper busily began plucking, scraping, boiling water and preparing the turkey for caldo, a popular national soup dish, and Mom stood hovering in the kitchen asking, “Is the turkey going to be tender?”

Um, I think being steamrolled by a Land Rover would go a long way towards making it that way, Mom.

The maid just shrugged and said, “We’ll see.”

Being the kind of woman who reads the last chapter of the book first to see if it ends well, my mother asked again, “Do you think the turkey will be tender?”

Again, the maid replied, “I’m not sure.  We’ll have to wait and see.”

Mom left the kitchen and returned a little while later, opened the lid and poked around and asked a third time, “Do you think the turkey will be tender?”

Margarita stopped what she was doing, turned around and looked at my mom and in a very clear, distinctive tone said, “If it’s an old turkey, it’ll be tough.  If it’s a young turkey, it’ll be tender.”

Little did she know that her momentary reply to my mother would resonate with me for a lifetime.

I can suffocate in fear about potential paths my life will take.

I can stew over possibilities that are out of my control.

I can camp out in middle of that paralyzing vortex of “What If”.

But none of that changes the outcome.

Life is full of good and bad, famine and harvest, and it is in acknowledging that truth that helps me release the grip of fear that can keep me from embracing what God has ordained for me.

Jobs lost, jobs gained.

Fractured relationships, mended fences.

Sickness, health.

Hope, despair.

Laughter, tears.

And through it all, a God who never changes and who wants to give me a full life of balance, not just benefit, so that I can grow in my own character and in knowledge of Him.

“….Be content with what you have. Never will I leave you and never will I forsake you.

Hebrews 13:5

Have a nice day.


28 responses to “Let’s Talk Turkey

  1. Beautiful! I love this post.

  2. 1. have you read candace’s post this morning? i think jesus is speaking the same thing through you two today. . .

    2. i LOVE it when you tell stories about growing up overseas. it makes my heart smile 🙂

  3. “…give me a full life of balance, not just benefit, so that I can grow…” Good stuff, CPQ. Good stuff.

    Now, quick, before INN responds…was the turkey tender?

  4. tears and conviction.
    This was just for me right?
    Thank you 🙂

  5. Your mother and I are kindred spirits. I also read the last chapter first to see if the book is worth reading. I have learned, however, not to admit this publicly. It causes a great uproar.

  6. Thanks. I really needed to check myself on this one today, with all the crazy/stupid packers/moving stuff going on. That reminds me, I better put my bible in the van before they pack it!

  7. Good timing….I’m learning, just last night, that it IS never “good news” when a family member e-mails and says: “Can you call me right now” (late at night).

    Stuff happens and it hits all of us sooner or later. Don’t know how people live life without the Lord. And convicting of how much more we need to show them His light in our lives especially through the hard times.

  8. Good stuff my friend. Hard stuff to apply, but good stuff to give me a kick in the pants.

  9. An interesting, but unforgettable illustration. I’m not generally a big worrier. I’m of the que sera, sera school and just try to do the best I can to make things right. That being said, I could still use a good reminder from a wise woman to keep my eyes on the prize. I mean either way, it’s a bonus turkey right?

  10. Always like hearing the MK stories!

    Contentment was the topic of our Bible time yesterday. Thanks for making sure I got the lesson!

  11. Thanks! I also love posts about your childhood. It’s great that these experiences are still making an impact.

  12. Love the truths here today, my Jungle Friend!

  13. This: “And through it all, a God who never changes and who wants to give me a full life of balance, not just benefit, so that I can grow in my own character and in knowledge of Him.”

    That was a word just.for.me today.

    Thank you. I needed it.

  14. Sooooo, was the turkey tough or tender??

    Thanks for making me thinky today. Great post, Suz.

  15. Wow. This ended up somewhere other than where I thought it was going. I loved this. I think I’ve pitched my tent next to yours ‘in camp’ on more than one occasion. Great post!

  16. The reason I wanted to know if the turkey would be tender or not, we had a carload of Kekchi men who had come home with us, and turkey caldo was dinner!

  17. I had no idea that your turkey was taking a turn for thinky, but I’m so glad it did.

    But I really want to know what Margarita presented to your mama that night: tough? or tender?

  18. I was certain this was to be another story of the success of pressure cooking wild fowl in the jungle.

    You whipped it around on me.

    But its good, because this tough old heart needed some tenderizin’.

    Good post, friend.

  19. That was wonderful! I needed a reminder of that verse today. Thank you.

  20. that was a tall cool drink of water.

  21. What a great conclusion you made from this life story! Oh, that we could remember this…

  22. Oh that turkey! I love the way your dad used to tell about “dealing” with the turkey owner! Thanks for sharing this wonderful story!

  23. How I needed this! Really, thanks a lot.

  24. Perhaps the best ever. Write a book. I am especially drawn b/c it is an m story. I love those. Should blog about the time Ross rolled into a man in the carwash. Suddenly 15 men took sides and argued our case or his. I spent the entire time trying not to laugh. Your growing up overseas must be one reason I like you so much.

  25. love this story and love the application and life lesson to be learned. thank you for sharing!

  26. You’re a tough old turkey with a tender heart, friend.

    (This will probably be the only time I can call you “old” and “turkey” and get away with it!)

  27. My favorite dish at my favorite restaurant is pollo caldo. I can assure you…it’s always tender.

    Lurve you, my want-to-know-the-outcome-but- will-choose-to-be-blessed-by-God’s-timing-even-though-it’s-hard-friend.

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