Fortunately, my family comes together often. Mainly because we all live no more than an hour away from each other, but mostly because we like each other. I used to think that I couldn’t be more different than these folks with their wild ideas on politics or their excessive use of jalapenos in salsa, but more often than not when I drive away from a family function I have a huge surge of love and appreciation for my people. 

This past Saturday was no exception. November 23 was annual turkey butchering day at the family farm and all that could, gathered to help. In the morning we donned our farm clothes and warm jackets so that we can stand in a cold barn and bitch about who’s late and converse about what we’d rather be doing, but somehow, we end up here every single year. 

What’s funny about us is that it doesn’t matter if our arms are elbow deep in a turkey or we are gathered around a table for a meal, the interaction is the same. We chat about what we are doing at home, our jobs and our husbands or wives. We talk about trucks and politics (sort of) and we fight about stuff that’s been going on for years. 

In the middle of removing turkey giblets and plucking we talk about new babies and cousins that are far away in Iraq. When I finally tapped out (which I always do) I sat on the hay bales and listened as my family made fun of the new “plant based” butter while I remained silent, having had some on my toast earlier that morning. In that same conversation we discussed our strategy for a potential zombie apocalypse and how home-grown birds are the best. Most of all we laugh. 

Then the plucker broke and I came down from the hay to reluctantly help pluck. I don’t really like this process, but it is what it is. You’ve done it all when you’ve packed turkey feet in ice for clients who like broth. The conversation continues into clean up and eventually we all settle into chairs as we wait for turkey pick up. There is always beer and the promise of a steak dinner (we never eat poultry on processing day) and on this day a birthday cake. Yep, farm people butcher turkeys on their birthday. 

Dinner is finally ready, and a prayer is said. Home-made butter on home-made bread. Yes, I am thankful. I am thankful for every minute I have with these people. My people.

My sincerest wishes for a happy holiday season for you and yours.