From my family to yours, no matter what this year has brought to each,
May the gift of laughter unite us in this wonderful thank-filled feast.
Initially, our pastor turned a deaf ear to the sound of guitar and tambourine,
But when he held a large frozen turkey, a gift from these young songsters for the poor, his heart melted in gratitude and all was serene.
Well then, next year, the song became, “Sister Chris, we’ve gotta find a live turkey.” It took some doing, but I managed to succeed,
And by Monday before the big day, a healthy 20-pounder was tied to the convent door with my name around his knees.
Thanksgiving morn, one of the girls and I
Dragged his Kelvinator box to his place of intended glory.
But as she reached inside to tie a large red bow,
Up he flew to the rectory roof, there to perch, and put on his own Thanksgiving show.
The boys climbed higher up the tree, and by now, complete strangers had joined in the fray.
The pastor’s words are wisely omitted as I pointed skyward, smiled and said: “Happy Thanksgiving Day!”
The newspaper office was just across the street, and a reporter showed up. The next morning’s headline read: “Turkey round-up time on the rectory range.”
With only 3 percent Catholic back then, the community must have thought: “Those Catholics sure are strange.”
The turkey lost a lot of feathers in the fracas, but if you were there,
To mark you as an initiate, you proudly sported them all weekend in your hair.
And in unison my darlings shouted out: “Her name is spelled D-I-E-N-S-B-E-R-G.”
And when a former student heard the story on Boston radio, odd that he knew it was about me.
Next Monday, I woke with an itching chest. Unable to teach high school students in this condition,
And fearing Asian turkey crud, I headed across the street to our physician.
A concerned parishioner, this doctor was, and hearing the word “turkey,”
Wondered what had gone on in the parish that weekend – perhaps it was all malarkey.
Because he’d heard that same word as the reason,
For Father Ed’s wrenched back that holiday season.
Saturday when Ed joined us to sort food for the poor, the turkey got loose again,
And it was Ed who caught him, carrying him by his ankles, back to the bleak Kelvinator prison.
Even though Ed joked that the turkey was lonely and sat waiting for us to visit,
The bird soon found a home – in the cook’s soup pot – with all the right spices in it!
The grand finale: I later received a phone call from a parishioner with a weird sense of humor, telling me he knew where I could borrow a live donkey for the rectory lawn for the Christmas season.
“Forget it!” I cried. “They’re not over Thanksgiving yet!”