Thanksgiving 1923


“Grandpa, Grandpa, tell us a story.”

“Well, I suppose so Billy. We probably have a little time to kill while your mother finishes burning that turkey. What kind of story do you want to hear?”

“One of the funny ones; about when you were growing up.”

“Tell me Billy, do you know what a flapper is?”

“No, what is it Grandpa?”

“Well, we had ’em back when I was growing up.  They were girls that cut their hair real short, and wore bright shiny dresses, and danced to the jazz music at night; and they called ’em flappers cause of the way they moved when they was dancin’.  Your Grandma on the other hand should have been called a flopper; cause when she danced she looked like a fish out of water. But I better not tell you that story; you’re daddy’s already givin’ me that look.  Well, lets see here.” Grandpa sat back in his tattered old rocking chair racking his brain for the perfect story, “Ah yes that’s it. I’ll tell you the story of Thanksgiving 1923.  It was the day before Thanksgiving, and my Ma was just like your’s; all broad and no brain.”


Grandpa waved his son off and continued with his story, “So, none of us were all that surprised when she says, ‘I forgot to get the turkey.’.  Now, me bein’ the oldest; I got sent down to Sal’s Butcher Shop to see if they have any left, but when I round the corner I see this dame in a giant chicken get-up, holding her big feathery chicken head under her chicken-wing arm, and smoking one of those long skinny cigarettes.”

“It wasn’t a chicken; it was a turkey.”

“Are you tellin’ the story, or am I?” Grandpa questioned his son, “You weren’t even there.”

“She’d want you to get it right.”

Grandpa waved his son off and continued with his story, “So anyways there she was, this beautiful woman, and I recognized her at once, because she usually worked inside of Sal’s.  Well, she was right by the door so I had to say something to her, so naturally when I walked up I told her, ‘Hey, nice chicken suit.'”.

“It wasn’t a chicken; it was a turkey.”

“That’s exactly what she said!” Grandpa agrees, as he waves his son off and continues the story.  “So I ask her, ‘What are you doing out here in a chicken suit.'”.

“It wasn’t a chicken; it was a turkey.”

“Are you gonna let me tell the story, or aren’t you?”  Grandpa turned back to Billy, “So she tells me again that she’s not a chicken, she’s a turkey, and that she’s out there because Sal ordered to many birds and he thought this little gimmick would get’em sold.  Well, about that time Sal sticks his big, round, greasy head out the door and tells her ‘I ain’t payin’ you to yap, I’m payin’ you to flap.  Now get back to dancin’.’  Well needless to say, I about lost it right there in the street, and the look she was giving me, oh boy…if I hadn’t been laughing so hard I’d probably have wet myself from fear.  But instead I tell her, ‘I guess you better put your chicken head back on and get to it.’ as I headed inside to get Ma’s turkey.”

“It wasn’t a chicken, it was a turkey.”

“I swear, if you interrupt me one more time.” Grandpa threatened his son as he was shaking his fist, and then turned back to Billy to continue the story, “I sat across the street at the malt shop doubled over in laughter for half the afternoon. Just watchin’ your Grandma flipity flop around in that Chick-urkey get-up,” Grandpa leaned in close to Billy and continued thru his growing laughter, “and Billy; if I didn’t know any better I woulda sworn that bird, was giving me the bird, the whole time.” The old man pushed back into his rocker laughing so hard he had to gasp for air.

“Dad, ease up.”

Grandpa just waved his son off again as he slowly calmed down, and finished telling Billy the story, “You know, that was the first time I met your Grandma.  I went back the day after Thanksgiving and asked her out on our first date.” Grandpa’s laughter faded away, and he wiped a tear from his eye, “From that day forward, every time I drove past that street corner, I thought of her.”


written for: The Speakeasy – week 137



26 responses to “Thanksgiving 1923

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