What was on the table?

Editor’s note: The Messenger asked readers to submit their favorite holiday food memories. Here are the editors’ favorite submissions.

It was doomed from the start! We had invited our usual family and relatives, 13 in all, for the Thanksgiving feast.

The kitchen refrigerator was filled with the usual cookies, pies, etc. The downstairs fridge was full of a new side of beef. Since the weather was below zero, I decided to put the turkey in a bag and store it overnight on the hood of my car in the garage. Evidently, a cat had taken shelter from the cold under our car earlier in the day. You guessed it – when I went to the garage (attached) next morning, the cat had chewed on the turkey.

The grocer at Northside Grocery, open for a few hours, came to my rescue, and I baked a beautiful turkey.

Our German shepherd had been relegated to the basement during dinner, but someone hadn’t closed the door tightly. The dog pushed open the door and headed directly for the kitchen table and the half-eaten turkey – and would have finished it, had I not interfered.

Nonetheless, we were thankful for our many blessings.

Mrs. Cal (Doris) Woods

Kenyon Place, Friendship Haven

One of the funniest Thanksgiving stories is that our meal was ready to come out of the oven and we went to pull out our table for the leaf – while doing so our table leg broke. So dinner was put on hold, until my husband spot-welded it back together again. Another time, my niece went to reheat some mashed potatoes in the microwave it came out melted, only to learn she heated up Grandma’s lard. One more funny – my son made a pumpkin pie and upon taking it out of the oven somehow it flipped onto the floor. There are many good memories of my father’s side of the family and get-togethers in the small farm houses. Having 30 or 40 people all together in a small house, it didn’t seem small as a child, but looking back I don’t know how my aunts did it. And of the times we would drive home in snow on Thanksgiving.

Those our just some of many great memories for which I am thankful.

Paula Ayala


This year, especially, brings me back in time to Thanksgiving 1976.

It was the year of new beginnings: Tom and I were newly married, and one of my brothers and his wife had welcomed a baby daughter. We also began the tradition of celebrating the holiday at our home. My mom and dad arrived early, with plenty of food to prepare a real feast. My mom particularly loved teaching me how to cook the turkey and dressing along with all the trimmings. It was delicious! We continued the tradition through the years with the same Thanksgiving menu. One exception was made after I described to my mom a salad which I enjoyed at a locally owned restaurant. She believed it was Cranberry Fluff, and we searched through her cookbooks for the recipe. Finally, we found it in a two-decades-old publication, The Messenger’s Holiday Recipes 1980. Today as I recall these precious times, I am deeply grateful for the life of my mother and all the love she gave us.

Beverly Davis

Fort Dodge