A few days before Thanksgiving, there was a proclamation made at our house that the guys would be in charge of the turkey. So my husband and our twelve year old prepared it for brining.
“Get the liver and stuff out,” father said to son.
“Where are they?”
“Just reach into the hole at the end.”
“Wait, that’s his butt! I am not reaching into the turkey’s butt!”
We all looked up from whatever newspaper article, book or teacup we’d been focused on. Grandpop’s eyebrow arced in amusement.
“No really? It’s in his butt?!”
“Yep,” said my grinning husband.
“That’s disgusting!” But like any respectable twelve year old, he reached inside.
“Ewwww! I can’t believe I’m doing this!” giggling as he pulled out the neck. “What’s this?”
“Oh my God, is this his heart?” he asked, triumphantly holding up a purplish blob.
“Ewwwww!” as he pulled out the kidneys, then liver.
“I can’t believe I just pulled them out of his butt!”
As my husband washed out the now hollow turkey, our son played with its innards – squishing them, poking at them, sliding them along the countertop. “What does its heart look like inside?”
“Cut it open and see.”
The readers and tea drinkers paused. More eyebrows raised.
“No,” said his grossed out grandmother.
Our ten year old showed up suddenly at his brother’s side, and he did it anyway. He dissected the heart. Then the kidneys, which were much harder to cut. “Not that interesting.”
Then the slimy liver. Not much for a boy to celebrate there either. “But I can’t believe you made stick my hand in the turkey’s butt!”
Then the turkey was brining, and the guys left the kitchen, content with their work – red-purple turkey juices still oozing across the counter for respectable ladies to clean up.
And I wondered why, after 47 years of turkeys, it had never dawned on me to look inside their hearts.