Who Will Tell the Children?

In 1971 Sue and I were stationed at McGuire AFB, NJ.  I didn’t have to fly that Thanksgiving so we decided we would have our first “traditional” Thanksgiving dinner as a family, even though it was just the two of us…

We set the menu, and bought a nice Butterball turkey.  I was really into it.

When we got up that morning I fixed us each a ‘screwdriver’ as we began our dinner preparations.  Sue concentrated on the salads and potatoes, and I began to prep ‘ole Tom.’

One of the things I look forward to at Thanksgiving is giblet gravy.  I think it’s a holdover from the holidays I had as a kid.  My job was to cut the giblets before Mom tossed them in the gravy.  So I began ‘field-stripping’ Tom to find the giblets.

I looked all over that damn bird, and no giblets!  YGBSM!  No giblets?  And I looked everywhere.  No giblets… and that really pissed me off!  So I decided I was going to let the fine folks at Butterball know what I thought of it all.  No giblets!

I then grabbed a cold beer, (this was now serious, and I didn’t ‘have time’ for screwdrivers), and I sat down at my desk and began writing.  I addressed my letter to the President of the Butterball company.  I don’t remember ‘exactly’ what I said, but something like:

“Dear Sir,

I don’t make a lot of money but this year decided to ‘splurge’ at Thanksgiving, and buy one of your fine turkeys.  Thanksgiving is a very special holiday for our family.

One of the delights of our Thanksgiving dinner is the giblet gravy.  It has always been a real treat for us.  Imagine my horror this year when I discovered no giblets in our turkey as I began the preparation.  How could this happen?  Somebody at the Butterball company screwed up, and we have no giblets!

It is still early Thanksgiving morning, and I am wrestling with how I will tell the children why there is no giblet gravy this year.  I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving dinner, with giblet gravy…

I don’t know if I will ever buy another Butterball turkey or not – I am too focused on getting through the day.  You won’t have to look into the sad eyes of your children – to tell them there is no giblet gravy this year.  I will…



I then took my letter over to the base post office and sent it on its way.  Satisfied with my expression of righteous indignation, I soon went back to prepping the bird – and discovered the giblets in the neck cavity!  Oh, shit!  They had been so frozen to the side of the bird that I did not see them.   Oh well…

A short time later I received a reply from Butterball – a nice letter of apology, and a gift certificate for another turkey.  Send it back?  Oh, hell no!

And now I know where they hide the giblets…

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2 Responses to Who Will Tell the Children?

  1. Kay Kern says:

    I could not stop laughing. I was practically a newly at Homestead Air Force Base in 1971 and wanted to cook my first Thanksgiving dinner. I had invited my parents and sisters to join us. I, too, got up early Thanksgiving morning to prep my bird. Lo, and behold there were no giblets for my turkey either. I made a quick call to my mother and asked her if she had any chicken giblets in the freezer and would she please bring them when they came.

    Well, after cooking the turkey and my new husband was doing the honors of carving our first Thanksgiving bird. Well guess what, there they were, right in the neck of the bird.

  2. Karen Floyd says:

    I love the story Bob! A prefect prelude to Thanksgiving day! I will have to say that I, for one, hope that Butterball really does forget the giblets in our turkey tomorrow! Pass on giblets! Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

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