Home 9 Issue 9 The Thanksgiving Dodo by Lili Lang

Lili Lang, age 13


This story was inspired by a church food giveaway for Thanksgiving that my grandma told me about.

The Thanksgiving Dodo

Okay, so I may have gone a little overboard. But hey, at least it was for a good cause! That has to count for something, right?

You see, my local church has this food giveaway thing every year on Thanksgiving where we all bring food to donate to the poor. Things like cornbread mix, stuffing and potatoes.

Well, this year my grandma decided to buy like half a million turkeys to donate. Then, like all true grandmothers, she swindled her poor unsuspecting grandchild into free labor. Next thing I knew, I was passing out turkeys at the front of the church.

It wasn’t so bad, though, actually. It was nice helping out others and seeing all their smiling faces. (The cookies Grandma bribed me with weren’t bad either.)

Still, looking back, I should have just said no and slammed the door in Grandma’s face. It would have saved us all a lot of trouble.

*   *   *

Things were all fine and good till I got to the last of the turkeys. You see, Grandma had told me to save one of the turkeys for our family dinner that night. But I may have gotten a little overzealous. I was tired and it was getting late, so I was trying to unload those turkeys as fast as possible.

Well, I got my wish. Before I knew it, the turkeys were gone! All gone! Um, oops. I felt like kicking myself for being so stupid.

There was no way I could go back to Grandma empty-handed, so I had two options: Go jump someone for the turkey, or go buy one. Considering I was at a church and all, I headed to the store.

*   *   *

All I can say is, if you see some old ladies in the supermarket, watch out. I spied a turkey on one of the shelves, but before I could even make a step for it, ten grandmas beat me to the punch. And let me tell you, it got ugly.

It started out all nice and sweet, but once they realized that was the last turkey, the gloves came off. Dentures went flying. A shoe conked a lady in the head. It looked like the lady with a rather sharp cane was going to win, but then the store clerks came. But apparently, the women didn’t have the greatest eyesight and thought the clerks were more turkey competition. The poor chumps never stood a chance.

Eventually, it turned into a tug-of-war. After a couple of heaves, that little turkey just couldn’t take it. The thing tore to pieces. But if you feel sorry for the turkey, you should have seen what they did to the woman who got the leg. They took her down NFL style.

Well, I took that as my cue to leave. I was ready to go home at that point, but given my last, let’s call it, “experience” with those grandmas, I wasn’t quite ready to face my own. So I went to try my luck at one more shop.

I did get meat of the bird nature – it just wasn’t a turkey. Frankly, I’m not sure what I got. It kind of looked like a cross between a dodo bird and a pigeon. What?! It was all the butcher had left! I would have settled for just a turkey leg, but they didn’t even have that. Hopefully, I could convince Grandma it was a turkey or maybe a mutant turkey …

*   *   *

Okay, showtime. I found Grandma in the kitchen cooking away at something that smelled delicious. Her face lit up when she saw me. That’s a good sign, I thought. Hm, I better soften her up a little before I break the news.

My eyes roved around the kitchen and I saw some red stuff bubbling in a pot. Bingo!

“That smells delicious, Grandma. I just love your cooking …”

Uh-oh, she looked suspicious. I may have thrown in a few too many “You’re such a great cook”s.

Finally, she looked me square in the eyes and said, “Do you have anything to tell me?”

Gulp. Okay here goes nothing.

“Um, you know how I was supposed to save a turkey? Well, um, I didn’t.”

There went my whole story about the mom and her three hungry kids I saw on the street that I gave the turkey to. Guess I’ll just have to stick to honesty.

“But I did go to another store and buy another bird.”

Grandma barely raised an eyebrow and simply shrugged.

“Okay, we’ll have it tomorrow.”

“Oh, okay,” I nodded. “Wait, what?!”

“You see, lately it’s just been turkey turkey turkey. I’m sick of it! So this Thanksgiving I’m making Italian food.”

Then she looked at my face and mistook my surprise for concern.

“Well, you did go all the way to the store, so maybe we will have that today.”


I tore the bag with the bird away before she could look into it.

“Uh, I mean, Italian sounds great!”

She smiled and said, “That’s good. Why don’t you set the table then?”

With that, she bent down and pulled a steaming, mouthwatering lasagna out of the oven. I smiled because truly I would take lasagna over mystery bird any day.