Mud, Miracle Grow, and No Thanksgiving Turkey

I’m sorry, did you say mud and Miracle Grow are NOT good with a Turkey?


Apparently, Mud and Miracle Grow do NOT mix well with dinner. And apparently, the holiday just isn’t the same when you serve canned soup and tacos for your perfect, family Thanksgiving meal.

Let me be clear. I am not a cook. I have never been a cook. To be perfectly fair, I also have never claimed to be the cook in my family. Ask anyone – especially the poor unsuspecting squadron wives, who unknowingly signed me up to cook a meal for a family that just had a baby, or for someone who just got out of the hospital.

There are unnecessary flashbacks of fires in the kitchen or uncooked chicken in a casserole dish. Hello??!! Where did it say “cook” the chicken before you add it to the dish? I’m sorry, I must have missed that little notation.


And seriously, who knew opening the door to a flaming oven would make the flames even larger? LIKE HUGE shooting flames?!! OMG… save the children!!! Not that I’ve ever done that before. I’m pretty sure I read that somewhere… yeah…let’s go with that… I should have read more easy Thanksgiving tips

Anyway, my job is simply to decorate and set the table. I am a genius with a glue gun and rhinestones… watch out Martha Stewart!

So this year Dan leaves me a note asking me to take the turkey out of the freezer and defrost it.

Ok… how hard is that?

Well, I put it on the counter and head for the shower. When I come back out to get my coffee, just where do you think that turkey is? On the counter?

Of course not.

Gunny, our 100 pound American Bulldog (who has a Master’s degree in destruction), has managed to push a chair to the kitchen counter and is now gnawing on a frozen turkey leg in the middle of the living room!

WHAT??!!! Are you kidding me?

That’s it… you’re outta here, dog! He didn’t do much damage (thank goodness) and I’m pretty sure no one will notice if our turkey is only one legged. I’ll tell everyone I found a place you can buy turkeys that have been saved from horrible turkey farms and this one died of natural causes… oh, wait. Maybe they’ll think the turkey is bad… hmmm… ok, I’ll just say we’re saving the other leg for the orphaned cats in Malaysia or something. Yeah, that’ll work.

Oh my goodness, is this my first Thanksgiving or something?

So, I throw the turkey back on the counter, I’m not sure why I didn’t put it in the sink. But I am pretty sure it because there was something in the sink. What was in the sink? I cannot remember, but I’m pretty sure there had to be a really good reason why the sink was off my radar as a good location for defrosting our poor, one legged turkey who sacrificed so much to save those orphaned kittens.

Anyway, I kick the dog outside and lock his doggie door.

Gunny is officially grounded.

I finish getting ready and am heading out the door to go shopping with my parents, when Gunny gives me the biggest puppy dog, “I’m sorry” look… and I know in his mischievous heart he must mean it.

Ugh… ok. I unlock the doggie door, look at the turkey, look at the dog, and back to the turkey. The counter is obviously not a good location, but I can’t leave poor Gunny outside, it’s too cold and he looks really sad. Ok, I got it!! The turkey can go way up high on the wood pile outside. It’s way too cold for little critters to come munch on it and I’m sure it will be the PERFECT place to thaw!! I should have thought of that earlier!

I’m brilliant. Now Gunny can lie inside and be warm while I run around with my parents getting the last minute details for tomorrow’s big Thanksgiving dinner party.

Several hours later we pull into the driveway, our arms are full as we unload bags of decorations, food and wine. So guess who comes out to greet us with slobber and love? Nope, not Gunny. Huh… he must feel really bad or is sleeping under the bed and didn’t hear us come in.

Such a good boy.

We finish unloading the car and my dad, who is an AMAZING cook, and constantly appalled at the frozen waffles I insist on buying when I could learn to make them from scratch. (Seriously, who has time for that?) Anyway, he begins searching the kitchen for the turkey. When he finally gives up he asks me where it is.

“Well it’s outside thawing of course.” (Why I thought it was too cold outside for the dog, but not too cold to defrost the turkey, I’m really not sure.)

“What?” His eyes narrow and he’s looking at me like he doesn’t know how I’ve survived this long. “Teri, why would you put it outside?” He turned on his heel and started for the back door.

“Look, it’s a long story, but really it is the BEST place to thaw turkeys!” Duh… “Oh, and… it may be missing a leg.” I sprint to catch up with him and nearly knock him over to get in front. “Let me go get it.” Why is he making me nervous?!! I am now a couple steps ahead of him on my mission to retrieve the rest of the turkey from the top of the wood pile.

He may be concerned that Dan is going to want a refund on me.

I’m pretty sure my dad told Dan after the wedding that there was a no return policy.

I hit the laundry room door that leads to the outside and that is when I saw it. A sea of bright blue and brown! All over the walls, the floor, the cabinets, washer, dryer and absolutely everything. OMG…???!!! We’ve been vandalized!!!! I jerk my head around quickly enough to see my Dad was on my heels and the shock on his face means I’m not hallucinating. WHAT HAPPENED?? Where is the DOG??!!! GUNNNNNNNY!!!!

I run out the laundry room door, and there he is, in all his glory.

My white dog is covered in bright blue and rolling around in the mud where the sprinklers must have come on. Is he just enjoying the freedom of the mud and the bag of Miracle Grow he found and ripped open?

Nope, he has the turkey torn apart and has devoured as much as he could gnaw off. Of course it was hard to see the turkey…camouflaged in mud and Miracle Grow. But by the absence of it on the wood pile, I assume the brown blob he’s chewing on is our Thanksgiving dinner. He obviously saw it as a challenge to retrieve the turkey from impossible heights. I can only imagine he then must have done a celebratory dance throughout the laundry room… shaking and throwing the bag of wet Miracle Grow.


Miracle Grow on the ceiling?

Well, that’s just great. Who is going to clean up THIS mess? First things first… call Dan and ask him to buy another turkey on the way home. Next, close the laundry room door and act like I didn’t see it. Most importantly, open a bottle of wine, have a glass or two… and then put on my best Cinderella act and clean up the disaster that my, oh wait… DAN’S dog made.

Can you believe when Dan got home he announced there were NO more turkeys left in any of the stores? Ok, now I know we live in a small town, but SERIOUSLY… not one little turkey?? How can that be? No turkey for Thanksgiving just seems like a sin. I called all over and explained to many a grocery store manager that our dog ate our main course and could they please tell me they had a spare turkey in the back. Nope….not one flipping fowl in the area.


Don’t these stores have emergency back-up turkeys? Certainly I am not the only one to ever leave a turkey on a woodpile and have it devoured by the dog. Certainly. We have 15 people coming for dinner. At this point the best idea I can come up with is a canned soup appetizer and Taco Bar for the main course.

Thank goodness there are people with better ideas in this family…and way better cooking skills.

We ended up with amazing grilled fish and lamb chops. And, might I add, the decorations were just fabulous!! Oh…, and Gunny? He was fat, happy, and I think pretty thankful that I gave him that turkey.

In the end, some of our fondest memories stem from fabulous vacations and holidays with relatives. Some of them have been picture perfect, and well… some of them have not.

And I don’t think I would have it any other way.

Because, this year, as we prepare for our perfect, family Thanksgiving meal, we can look back and laugh at that ridiculous Miracle Grow and mud debacle, and remember that the holidays are about way more than a turkey with both legs.

And with my track record, that is certainly something to be thankful for.

Happy Thanksgiving!

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