Thursday, November 24, 2022

Happy Thanksgiving!


Many years ago I lived in a wonderful apartment in Portland, Oregon adjacent to a wooded area. The second floor of the apartment had a balcony so it was like living in the trees. I loved it.


As usual my family descended upon me for Thanksgiving  and I served turkey dinner for something like 20 people. I think the bird was near on 40 pounds; I needed four strong men just to shove it in the oven.


But it was delicious and the family was very happy and all was well.

Until the clean up.


I should mention here that my dear mum was a Scot through and through. Her life mantra was to save, re-use, and never waste a thing.  She came by that honestly; her dad, my gramps was from the Old Country and he bought a lemon-yellow Pinto once because he got a big discount cause of the color. The only members of the family who were happy to drive around in that car with him were the dogs.


But I digress.


Thanksgiving dinner was now reduced to scraps and leftovers.

All were carefully popped into storage containers and lodged in the fridge.


But what to do with the turkey carcass? It was big enough to be a stand-in on the set of Jurassic Park.


Mum began to fill up a soup kettle with the idea of boiling the bones and making broth. Now that is a good idea, particularly if you do not like to waste anything.


But I'd had enough of this damn bird. I'd hauled it home from the grocery store, worked around it as it thawed on the sideboard for three days, and I had enough turkey in the fridge to send everyone home with leftovers plus make turkey sandwiches for a week.


The idea of five gallons of broth staring at me reproachfully from the fridge for the next two months was more than I could bear.


Mum, said I. Enough.

I'm not waiting for this to boil down to broth. I am not going to use five gallons of broth this month, or even this year.



Well, of course, we had to fetch the smelling salts and carry her to the fainting couch, but she revived tout suite once she heard me pouring the water from the kettle down the sink.


But she was supine once again when she watched what happened next.


I put the carcass on a baking sheet.  I opened the sliding glass doors to the balcony.  I stepped out into the brisk evening air.


And I heaved that carcass off the baking sheet, arced it over the backyard and into the woods behind our house.


There, I said. All taken care of.


Now it came to pass that night that word went out among the wildlife who inhabited the wood,  and they arrived in full fang and cry.


The noises that came out of that woods were unhinged.

It was awesome!



The next morning my younger sisters scouted around and reported back: no sign of the turkey carcass. Not a one. Not a sage leaf, not an onion shred, not a leftover stuffing crumb. There was, however,  a note that said "where's the pie?"


To this day, I attribute my love of throwing things out of windows to this seminal event.


Throwing things in dumpsters is a close second.


For years, I was the one to call if you wanted to clear out a garage or a house, or even just a room. I didn't do the sorting or the boxing, no no no. I did the heaving.


A dear friend of mine bought a house that did require some items be discarded. I quickly offered my services but was gently persuaded to stay home.  I think she was afraid of terrifying the new neighbors.


My love of throwing things out the window ended when I dropped an air conditioner out of my third floor walkup here in Brooklyn.  The noise it made when it hit the ground was not awesome. It was chilling. The fact that I didn't kill or maim anyone was a miracle, and I think god for it every time I look out the window and see that forlorn broken hull of an AC resting on my super's back patio. (He lives in the basement and has installed a tarp over his front patio.)



What are you throwing out the window this year?


nightsmusic said...

My mother was from the "old country" as well. The family hailed from Forfar though they were originally Highlanders until the Jacobite rebellion though I digress. My mother was not a cook. Her mother was the cook and she was marvelous. My mother however, was beyond frugal (I think it's in the genes) and I did, to a certain extent, inherit some of that. While I do make turkey stew, I only do a 20 pound turkey because I roast for 12, not 20. And I have a freezer in the garage which is unheard of in NYC.

I love your tossing the carcass out! I used to do that when we lived partially into a nature preserve. While we're still rural in this house, it's not quite the same and the neighbors frown on the coyotes coming in the back acreage. I love them. Such is the unfortunate movement of 'city dwellers' who suddenly want to move to nature. They want to move here, but they don't want to be involved with it. Sort of like the people who buy a house by the airport and then want the airport to move because they don't like the noise.

But I digress again.

Happy Thanksgiving to you, Janet, and to everyone here!! So much to be thankful for this year. Today, I'm taking my 20 pound turkey to my 97 year old father-in-law's because he just had his second knee replacement and we'll eat there. Sister-in-law is doing everything else. Just thankful we still have the family together.

Kitty said...

The only time I threw anything out a window was when I cleaned out the attic and threw all the discarded stuff into the driveway below. It was cathartic, too. There was a mountain of junk waiting for the man I hired to haul it away the next day.

Sharyn Ekbergh said...

We live in the White Mountains on a four acre plot. I throw most food scraps over the bank or onto the compost and have a thriving population of wildlife. Last year a fox family with four kits made their home in a leftover den and played in the driveway at night. Fat groundhogs waddling around. Bear, deer, moose, raccoons. We keep regular garbage locked up in the garage or it will end up all over the driveway.
I needed a reminder to take the suet feeder in at night. Just got it.
We once set up a critter cam after a lobster feast was thrown over the edge and watched the party on video. First the larger animals, raccoons and ending with the smallest mice getting the last crumbs.

BJ Muntain said...

*opens balcony door and looks down over the railing*

*imagines the faces of the three floors of seniors below me at the sight/sound of heaved boxes*


Luckily, my niece is coming tomorrow to help me clean out those boxes and more. I will let her throw the boxes out (I'm one of those people who hold onto boxes just in case someone needs them for moving.) It's okay, I tell myself. Amazon has plenty more.

Happy Thanksgiving to all you American Reef Dwellers! And a wonderful Thursday to the rest of the world!

John Davis Frain said...

Janet, you may be on the wrong side of the agent-writer relationship.

Just sayin'.

John Davis Frain said...

Inspired by our very inspirational leader, I present Death by Defenestration, a retelling of Janet's love for throwing things out windows.

My old man had an expression. Used to say you could set your watch to it. Don’t nobody wear them watches no more, but you know.

Guy down the hall. Apartment 3. Frain’s his name. Welching on bets his game. Owes me two large from Saturday. If he don’t pay … he’ll pay. Know what I’m saying?

Frain’s a creature of habits. Like welching on bets. Also, annoying habits like whistling. Worse, for him, he walks under my apartment window on his way home from Starbucks. Same time every morning.

I ran calculations. Marked a spot on the sidewalk with a piece of chalk. Fitted a Hefty bag with the exact weight of my air conditioner. Conducted tests. Ain’t sayin’ I understand physics, but I can run a stopwatch.

Forecast today said early summer. Good time to install the window unit, right? Who coulda guessed a whistling Starbucks customer come ’round the corner just as I accidentally lose my grip on the old Frigidaire? Splat!

Goodbye, Mr. Frain. You welched your last bet, you turkey.

Beth Carpenter said...

What a great story! I'm sure the various woodland creatures had a wonderful feast on that carcass.

On my first Thanksgiving with my boyfriend's family, his mother suggested we make "Turkey Frame Soup" from a recipe she'd clipped. We spent Friday chopping, boiling, and making homemade noodles for a soup that turned out to be almost inedible. Too bad we didn't just throw it out the window. But we bonded over it and still laugh about it today.

Mary said...

At the age of 24, my friends and I drained a can of tuna out the third story window of a youth hostel. I'm not sure what we were thinking.

Craig F said...

I was thinking that I might have to defenstrate my niece, but she had no dietary surprises this year.

Two years ago she said she had gone gluten free, last year she was doing Keto. Both times she informed us when she got here for Thanksgiving. This year she ate a little of everything and I don't even know if she is still gluten free, I was afraid to ask.

AJ Blythe said...

Growing up, there was a neighbour over the way who threw everything out their windows. Their cream house was marred by this black staining under all the windows. I shudder thinking about it even now. Needless to say, it put me off using windows for anything other than sunlight and a breeze.

Happy Thanksgiving.

french sojourn said...

I remember my Mother took my sister Saskia and I to Greece. My other four sisters and my brother got their trips later. We had a stop over in Athens, and after dinner my mother adjourned, Saskia and I however toured the hotel and noticed an ice machine down a hall. Being teenagers, we picked a dozen ice cubes and wandered to a balcony over looking the pool. We threw a couple ice cubes from the fourth floor and watched the pool guard's befuddlement trying to see what was making the sound in the pool. I think we were down to our last ice cube when we sensed our mother watching us from behind.... the security guard was quite forgiving. It's been a while since I've tossed anything from above.
Happy T-Day to you all.
Cheers! Hank

Steve Forti said...

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone who celebrates. Thankful for all of you here.

NLiu said...

Love the turkey defenestration story.

Frain you made me laugh so much the baby thought something hilarious was happening and had hysterics.

We can't throw things from our windows. The neighbours wouldn't be happy. Doesn't stop other people doing it. Some time ago when we lived in London the upstairs neighbours used to chuck their chicken bones into our garden. One time I was out there hanging up baby clothes when I had a near-miss with a pailful of dirty water. Needless to say, I yelled. Unfortunately, because of my shock and fury, I yelled in Chinese, so I'm not sure the neighbours got the message. They threw a used nappy (diaper) down on the next inhabitants of that flat. Wait - maybe they did understand what I yelled?

CynthiaMc said...

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!
Our house is one story and only a couple of the windows open so it's just not worth it.
My hubby's family is Scottish and my mother-in-law always made turkey carcass soup.
We live in town, but we have a possum that comes to the water bowl at night and raccoons that like to climb our sweet gum tree and visit the peanut bowl. They're so cute.

S.D.King said...

I am a saver, so I have few defenestration stories...BUT there is an oft told story of the time my kids were sword fighting with the legs broken off little brother's Bert and Ernie toy. I grabbed the swords, opened the front door and whipped them a surprising distance into the 2 feet of snow out front. The kids were speechless. The swords surfaced in March.

BTW - my husband always make turkey soup from the carcass.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone.

S.D.King said...

Also - we make our living as eBay sellers and when I see things thrown away, I see money. At least give to Salvation Army so that we resellers get a chance at it, please.

Beth Carpenter said...

Frain, thank you for the fabulous entertainment!

If anyone still has a turkey carcass sitting in the fridge and doesn't want to throw it out the window, here's my favorite recipe:

Tim Lowe said...

Love this story. This year I got smart and purchased an 11 pound bird. No leftovers! Super happy time celebrating a great holiday with family. We are blessed.

Now, the pie situation is one I could go on about . . . who brings 2 full pies to a 9 person gathering??

Lennon Faris said...

I once defenestrated a bag of garbage from a third-story window onto my brother's head.

He was okay. We were making a movie with my sister, the director, which is what we did with our Friday evenings instead of going to parties. In case anyone is wondering, we were definitely the cool kids.

Loved reading this story and all the others!

Luralee said...

I don’t think I’ve ever thrown stuff out the windows. It’s too much trouble removing the screens. Except once when we had a plumbing problem in the kitchen so we rigged up a siphon and emptied the overflowing sink into the garden. Happy Thanksgiving we are having our turkey day a day late.

Tim Lowe, yes, two pies is definitely not enough for nine ;)

Craig F said...

Of course you have to have two pies' not everyone likes Pumpkin.

LynnRodz said...

John Davis Frain I've told Janet the same thing. She's quite the storyteller.

Tim Lowe I get the feeling you thought two pies were one too many. As far as I'm concerned, you can never have too many pies. The more, the better.

The only time I threw something out a window happened ages ago in Tangier. I was walking aroung the casbah with a friend when a kid shoved something into my hand. It was hashish the size of a baseball. We returned to the youth hostel we were staying in wondering what to do when there was a knock on the door. We looked at each other. Another knock, only louder. Was it a setup and we'd end up in a Moroccan prison? I had a few seconds to decide what to do. I threw it out the window. We opened the door, it was some of the other kids staying there wanting to know if we'd like to hang out. We looked out the window, rats were already nibbling, about to get high. We partied that evening. No Midnight Express for us!

Tim Lowe said...

Update: my 13 yo daughter hosted a "Friendsgiving" yesterday. Somebody brought another pie.

Now we have three pies.

Kregger said...

The only thing I've ever defenestrated was 3 or 4...thousand teeth.