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Best-ever Turkey Day

I was in no mood to celebrate Thanksgiving this year. We were struggling financially and the wife was driving me nuts trying to cut down on costs.

With the bad economy, many are looking for ways to save money.

You have no idea. See, the wife read some article and decided we could save money by preparing a meal just like the first Thanksgiving dinner.

What did they eat?

What didn’t they eat• They had no mashed potatoes because potatoes weren’t grown in America yet. They had no butter. They didn’t even have pies, as they had no ovens.

Then how did they bake their turkey?

They had no turkey! They ate other fowl, deer and seafood cooked over a spit — all of which they trapped, shot or caught themselves at very little cost.

I’m afraid I see where this is going.

The wife thought it would be fun if I learned to hunt, trap and fish. She figured I could catch the food on weekends, then freeze it until the big day. And I thought we invented the suburbs so people wouldn’t have to do such things anymore.

How did it go?

I was well into the end of summer without having shot, trapped or caught anything. The wife gave up on me. She said we better shift back to more traditional money-saving tactics.

Traditional money-saving tactics?

She had me subscribe to every coupon service known to man. I was soon spending every spare moment looking for bargains on canned cranberries, pumpkin filling and so on.

That doesn’t sound fun.

It wasn’t. Nor was I very good at it. The wife was so unhappy with my progress, she finally decided to give me a ridiculously small stipend to buy everything we’d need for dinner. She said I’d learn how to figure out the cost-saving coupons if I was forced to.

That went better?

Nope. The most basic elements — cranberries, pumpkin pie filling, rolls and so on — ate up my entire budget. I didn’t panic though. One grocery store had a promotion in which the first 20 customers on Thanksgiving morning would get free turkeys.

Wonderful!

That’s what I thought. I slept in front of the store all night. There were a couple dozen people, but I snagged the 20th spot. But wouldn’t you know they ran out of turkeys by the time they got to 15! I was in trouble now, so I grabbed my credit card and went to every grocery store in town — not one of them had a turkey!

You had no turkey on Thanksgiving Day!

The wife was going to brain me good! I was mighty down. As I said, we’d been struggling financially all year. The unemployment rate looked like it would never go down. Our country is broke and getting broker. Our competitors, such as China, are rising. All I could think about were negative things.

It’s understandable.

Then, as I was driving home, I saw a van with a flat tire blocking the road. My first impulse was to honk and curse, but then I saw an old man behind the wheel. It was freezing cold. Instead, I got out and pushed his van off the road and changed his tire. It made me forget my woes. It made me feel pretty good.

That’s why it was the best Thanksgiving ever?

Sort of. See, the old man said he’d been sitting there for hours waiting for help. His cell phone died. The tow truck never came. Then he told me he owns a grocery store and was in a panic to get to the store with five turkeys for a free giveaway when …


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