Mothering Heights: The Turkey Fail

By Christine Fugate.

I’ve obviously failed as a mother. Come Thanksgiving and my kids only want to eat chicken tenders and French fries. There’s no respect (or desire) for the roasted turkey, cornbread stuffing, and puddle of gravy.  Just mention cranberry sauce and saliva drools down my chin.

This ‘fail’ (as my girls say) must be due to my lack of hosting. During the baby and toddler years, we went to Kansas to celebrate with my grandmother and family. Once she turned 100 (and decided her hosting days were over), we stayed in Laguna Beach and splurged at the Montage or mooched off our foodie friends.

This season, I might have uncovered the real reason they are anti-turkey: turkey empathy. My first (and only) clue was a letter my fifth-grader wrote last week practicing the art of persuasion in her writing class.

Dear Farmer John,

Thanksgiving is just around the corner; and we both know what that means. I don’t think you should sell me one bit. There are many other animals on this farm, so why choose me? Old Billy Bob Joe Chicken can tell you all about his healthy chicklets, but he doesn’t know what that means. My meat is old, and my insides are not pretty. Even if you did sell me, those cruel butchers’ wouldn’t blink twice before tossing me. You can go and talk to Farmer Unicorn, and he’ll say I am the gold pot king turkey on the farm.

I promise that I will always keep my night stall clean, except after my “ya know, business.” I’m not even raised organic, so not one of those stuck up humans will even think about it. Now do you believe me? Well, you better because I am worth it!

Sincerely, Turkey Sara

Well, besides my daughter’s turkey identification, I can tell my preaching about organic has done nothing except create a feeling of elitism.

What’s a mom to do? I’m hoping this will be the year I instill the love of the turkey and sides.  If not, there’s always the whipped cream on the pumpkin pie. That’s always been the traditional treat that reminds them the holidays are here.


Laguna Beach mother and filmmaker Christine Fugate teaches film at Chapman University.

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