Never Having Known…


Dear Reader:

I hope your Thanksgiving was filled with “plenty of reasons to give thanks.” Mine sure was! When I received the following comment from Jo Dufford yesterday it made me pause and realize something, an epiphany, that I had not considered. This is what Jo wrote.

Among my many blessings for which and whom I am thankful, I am thankful for you and your way of inspiring me every day. Living in America, being free to worship my God when and how I please, having family and friends to support and love me and never having known a time when I didn’t have all I needed and much, much more are just a few things I am thankful for today. HAPPY THANKSGIVING TO YOU AND TO ALL!

I re-read the comment and thought how true Jo’s statement was…never in my life have I gone hungry and not known when or if there was another meal coming. Never have I thought that I didn’t have enough clothes to wear, a car to drive, (well, maybe as a self-centered teenager) or family that would be there for me during crisis times in my life. What a charmed life I have lead when millions of people live and die on this earth having experienced hunger, lack of clothing, no vehicle of any kind, and no family for back-up… no one upclose and personal.

I can only imagine God’s frustration at us, who have so plenty, whining about something we might want but definitely don’t need. I have been in that category way too often upon reflection. Instead we should be thinking of ways we can help those who have nothing or little by sharing our over-abundance.

What an amazing blessing “Never having known…” is for ourselves, our children, and grandchildren and just what a rarity it is in the global picture of life.

Now please allow me to “bird walk” into this next segment called “Never have I known a turkey to cause me as much trouble as my Mr. Turkey caused me Wednesday. It was “The Turkey from Hell.”


Don’t be deceived by this rather innocent-looking turkey before you. It must have known that I didn’t order it and didn’t want it…and it paid me back two-fold.


This picture was taken at the end of a three-hour trial of frantic nerves that would have tested Job into submission. If the skin looks brown and crispy it is because it caught fire in the oven.

Let me start at the very beginning…a very good place to start. Last year I ordered a turkey breast from Publix and it was the best thing I ever put in my mouth. So this year I smugly thought that I had this Pre-Thanksgiving Feast down…no problems.

So about two weeks before Thanksgiving I promptly ordered my turkey breast from a young boy who was working behind the counter…I went on a Sunday evening thinking it wouldn’t be crowded but apparently I hit the deli counters at the wrong time. After waiting about 15 minutes the young boy asked what I needed and I told him I wanted to order my Thanksgiving turkey breast. He went and got the paperwork and I repeated again what I wanted…he checked a box and said it was done.

I told him I would go ahead and pay for the turkey breast but he said he was fairly new and would need to get someone else to do the paperwork and then send it in but ‘I was good to go’ and could just pay for it when I picked it up.

A few days later I realized that I didn’t have a receipt or any record of ordering it…so I stopped back by…just to double-check and another clerk went and returned confirming my order had been sent…I was good to go…and didn’t need a copy for pick-up.

Wednesday morning I was cooking casseroles by 7:00 and had three done by the time I stopped at 9:00 to go pick up my turkey breast. First they brought out a huge box with a turkey and all the trimmings. I told the clerk that I just ordered a turkey breast. After a long time…she reappeared and plopped a wrapped turkey in the cart. I stared at it and repeated that I had just ordered a turkey family just liked the white breast meat.

She said that was the way the order went in and they didn’t have any extra turkey breasts. I shook my head in exasperation but it was too late to do anything but take it…which was even more annoying.

I picked up one of those big aluminum pans to cook the (now) whole turkey in….I had had a perfect pan for the breast but it was too small for this turkey. Since I have an oven on the other side and my brother was staying over there…I told him to come get me at such and such a time for us to put the turkey in.

On the directions…it said to lightly spread some vegetable oil over the top of the turkey to make it look pretty ‘in’ brown when it cooked. I did that…and held the door while Ben shoved it in.

Within a minute smoke came billowing out of the oven…I opened the door and saw that the glazed vegetable oil was smoking. I couldn’t believe the fire alarm didn’t go off….so Ben and I ran around opening the doors and windows and turning on the fans. ‘Great’ I thought, after cleaning the day before this side was going to smell like burnt smoke.

An hour later, after we thought things had finally settled down…the burnt smell started again. “What now” I thought in exasperation…and opened the door…only for smoke to billow out once again because apparently when Ben shoved the turkey in, it must have rubbed a hole in the pan and all the broth was dripping on the bottom of my rarely used oven.

img_4261So we hauled that big turkey out again and decided to amputate everything that wasn’t a breast…so I could fit that “insidious” bird into my original pan. It wasn’t easy…but Ben, the surgeon, finally got it done. Back in the oven it went and I was now completely clueless how long it had even cooked with all the “emergency” removals.


02dc6f4e4741bc803e2ecefe733d91d5Ben got it carved up, eventually, and it was put out and eaten…though I must admit I had lost my taste for turkey by then…I made a lot of gravy (without many drippings since they were still on the bottom of the oven (Thank goodness for Swanson’s broth)…figured anything tastes better with gravy on it…and so Pre- Thanksgiving 2016 has passed to go down into the annals of family history as the ‘ The Year of the Obnoxious Turkey and the Smoked Apartment.’

*I did remember someone telling me that to help keep one’s perspective when things go wrong…ask yourself…if I didn’t wake up tomorrow…would all this fuss have been worth it? And of course the answer is “No”….in fact…soon it will just be another funny family story …”Do you remember the Thanksgiving when?”

Thanksgiving Day, for me, started early with Ady and Ben coming over to my side for cinnamon rolls. Ady helped me  spread the icing, eat the rolls and then we went out to play. Ady is a natural athlete…and there isn’t anything she isn’t willing to try.










After lunch Ben, Bekah, and Ady all headed to Charleston to Lee and Vikki’s for Thanksgiving and I went to have Thanksgiving with Butch, Susan, Tommy, and Kaitlyn. Delicious Thanksgiving dinner…and the turkey, which I gobbled down, was cooked to perfection!

img_4301When I arrived Tigger was so happy to see me! (Tommy and Kaitlyn are dog-sitting for John and Mandy while they are gone.)

It was so beautiful we all got to eat outside on the deck…what a way to spend Thanksgiving. A more beautiful autumn Thanksgiving would be hard pressed to find.





thumbnail_img_4308After dinner…there was a chocolate cake from mom and dad for Kaitlyn’s birthday last Sunday. Yum! (Along with pumpkin pie and a pumpkin roll. I brought left-over pumpkin cheese cake slices…so pumpkin was definitely the theme.)






So until tomorrow….For every day we wake up with the possibility of a brand new day filled with new adventures and delightful detours…we  give thanks.

“Today is my favorite day”  Winnie the Pooh

img_4311*Ady…thank you for the vase you made …I am putting my jewelry in it so I won’t always be losing one or more earrings. You did an extra good job molding and making it just perfect with so many pretty colors.



About Becky Dingle

I was born a Tarheel but ended up a Sandlapper. My grandparents were cotton farmers in Laurens, South Carolina and it was in my grandmother’s house that my love of storytelling began beside an old Franklin stove. When I graduated from Laurens High School, I attended Erskine College (Due West of what?) and would later get my Masters Degree in Education/Social Studies from Charleston Southern. I am presently an adjunct professor/clinical supervisor at CSU and have also taught at the College of Charleston. For 28 years I taught Social Studies through storytelling. My philosophy matched Rudyard Kipling’s quote: “If history were taught in the form of stories, it would never be forgotten.” Today I still spread this message through workshops and presentations throughout the state. The secret of success in teaching social studies is always in the story. I want to keep learning and being surprised by life…it is the greatest teacher. Like Kermit said, “When you’re green you grow, when you’re ripe you rot.”
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