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  • The year was 1947. Vera was pregnant with our first child, I was going to school on the GI Bill and we were living with her parents. As were her two sisters and their husbands, all in one big house. As I recall Vera's brother and his wife were living there also. We were a compatible bunch and got along fine.

    Vera's father won a turkey at a local turkey shoot, so we were assured of a good Thanksgiving. In those days, you brought your own gun and ammo and the prize turkeys were alive in crates, not some frozen big breasted bird like they have today.

    Vera's dad and brother brought the turkey home and put it the garage, which was more like a barn with a dirt floor. It was a big bird around 24 pounds. They gave the turkey some corn, water and stuff and left him until the fateful day.

    Early Thanksgiving morning, Mom told my brother-in-law Walter and me to go kill the turkey. So we trooped to the garage with a lasso and axe. We wrestled that bird out of the crate and to the stump where we tried to behead it. Lord, we wrestled, but the bird broke free and we began chasing him all over the dang garage trying to get the noose around his neck. Unfortunately, we had neglected to secure the door all the way and, you guessed it, he made his escape.

    We began chasing all over the yard, with Mom yelling from the kitchen window, "Don't let him get away". We almost had him several times with Mom yelling encouragement, but all of a sudden that bird took off and landed high in the sycamore tree. Matt, our other brother-in-law, heard the commotion and came out to see what was going on. He took one look at us and the turkey high in the tree and said, "I'll be right back". He came out a few minutes later with a .22, took aim and shot that sucker right between the eyes. That was what we called a real "Turkey Shoot". The noise that bird made when it hit the ground was like a "Whoomph"!

    Due to his feathers, the bird wasn't too bruised from the fall and we had a wonderful Thanksgiving with all the trimmings. We were all thankful to have each other, but Walter and I were especially thankful to Matt that the bird didn't get away.

    Photo is my late brother-in-law, Walter.
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