"Give thanks to the Lord, for he is good;
his love endures forever."
Psalm 107:1 (NIV)
I live with a veteran––50 years and counting. But, I married an Air Force airman. Veterans Day brings back memories, both good and sad. Good memories and funny ones of our first year of marriage at Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas––yes, theLas Vegas. And, the sad memory of standing with a three-month-old baby cradled in my arms while watching my young husband ascend the skies in an Air Force plane headed for Thailand during the Vietnam Conflict.
Reflecting, there are many things to thank God for: his safe return a year later, traveling the country as a military wife, and the good and sometimes funny memories during those years.
This week we thank God for our veterans. Personally, I am thankful my soldier returned home and lived to become a veteran. But, that first year living on an Air Force base brings back one standout memory etched in my mind and heart forever.
The turkey tale I have to tell holds a special spot in my heart. It was a special turkey because it was the first turkey I tried to cook––two months after my wedding day. I have many precious memories to be thankful for this Veterans Day and Thanksgiving season. As the years pass, I realize that it is a blessing to be able to remember. This turkey tale wasn't funny at the time, but I can't help but chuckle each time I remember it now––decades after the event.
After many years of married life, I gained experience cooking turkeys, but as a new bride, I didn't have a clue. Nevertheless, I looked forward to cooking my first Thanksgiving dinner that year. Far away from our hometown in Pennsylvania, we celebrated alone but not as we planned. We lived on an airman's salary, so buying a turkey was a big expense for the special day. We got up early, and together we made the stuffing, packed it in the bird and shoved it in the oven. After a few hours, we checked the bird. We thought it strange that there was no wonderful aroma coming from the oven, and looking at it––well, it was still raw. Two hours more should do it––we reasoned. We closed the oven door and waited.
The table looked lovely with my wedding gifts of silver, crystal, and candlesticks placed on the perfectly pressed tablecloth. The potatoes were cooking, and the red cranberry sauce contrasted the green linen tablecloth––my decorating skills were developing. If only that turkey would cooperate. It didn't. After nine hours in the oven, it was tough and still raw. We were so disappointed that we took that bird for a long drive in the Nevada desert and threw it out of the convertible we were driving. Good riddance!
Did we ever know what happened? Never! But, I can tell you that story has been told over and over, and usually it sounds as though the cook messed up. I will never agree––it must have been the oven! My first turkey--tough and uncooked! That bird still haunts me today––every time its story is told. FYI, every turkey I’ve baked since exited my oven thoroughly cooked and delicious!
Remembering must be important to God. There are hundreds of verses in the Bible where God tells us to remember, or He remembers us and His promises. “I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done” (Psalm 145:5). Memories!
I hope your turkey isn't a repeat of my turkey tale this Thanksgiving. It wasn't funny at the time, but what a good, funny memory now. We have so much to be thankful for this Veterans Day and Thanksgiving Day. I hope you make some good turkey tales on this Thanksgiving Day––funny ones too.
And, be sure to remember to thank the veterans you know this Veterans Day. Without them, we would not have the blessing of the freedom we enjoy––or the turkeys on Thanksgiving Day.