Tales of Turkeys

Individuals share comical stories of Thanksgivings past


graphic by Victoria Van

Story by Charli Hueter, staff writer

There is plenty to be thankful for this Thanksgiving season, including our wonderful teachers and tiger alumni, who have built the school we know and love today. Many times we forget to take into account the fact that our predecessors are just as human – and just as capable of mistakes – as we tend to be. That is why it is important to realize the wonder that is making mistakes, and how thankful we should be for the memories they have created.

“Thanksgiving has always been the time when all of our family got together. Even if we weren’t together exactly on Christmas day, we were always together on Thanksgiving,” said Susan Waldrep, Student Council director and Leadership teacher. “So, my grandmother lived in Houston, and she’s really different from what you would assume a grandmother would be. I never tasted anything she cooked. She worked in a downtown, exclusive clothing store in Houston. She just was not a typical grandmother.”

This story revolves around a turkey from the Waldrep family. Upon the hunt for Thanksgiving fiascos, Waldrep had no problem cooking up a humorous tale. Better not leave this tasty anecdote unsupervised; it may cause a ruckus.

“It is Thanksgiving, and my mother was doing all the typical things you would think of, and she would cook. She had the turkey in the oven, and my sister forgot that she had left something in the toaster oven,” Waldrep said. “It was burning and the smoke alarms start going off. My grandmother who could barely walk. She was 85, had arthritis in both hands and her knee, and she thought that the house was burning down.”

When sitting beside your grandparents at the table this Thanksgiving, just be grateful that they are a bit more normal than that of Waldrep’s.

“Instead of being a typical grandmother and trying to get everyone else out, she literally knocked my sister into the wall and knocked my mother into the stove. She went running out of the house yelling ‘FIRE, FIRE’ and just knocked everybody out of the way,” said Waldrep. “Then, there were about 25 of us just staring at her, standing out in the front yard, yelling while all of the rest of us are standing back in the house going, ‘It’s just a toaster oven!’”

According to English teacher Robin Welsh, when it comes to food, there are some things she cooks, and some things she doesn’t cook, all thanks to a Welsh family turkey.  

“My mother loved her brother, and his name was Travis. I can remember that he didn’t like his dressing cooked. He liked that corn-bready taste that it has,” Welsh said. “So, my mother would make the dressing, put it in the oven, and she would always set this cup out. He would eat and say, ‘Oh, it’s so good.’ My mother never put raw eggs in the dressing as a result of that. That’s why she stopped!”

Our final turkey is a small boy. Deemed the local “church pew” baby, he grew up surrounded at Thanksgiving by every crock pot creation imaginable. But, enough background information— It’s time to spill the gravy.

“It was Thanksgiving, we were sitting at the table, and our heads were all bowed while my husband was praying,” Class of 1949 Texas high alumni Norma Jeanne Belonie said. “Suddenly there was a loud clatter on the table; gravy was everywhere! And we all looked up and one of the children was frantically stirring the ladle to the gravy. We asked him why, and he said he was looking for Jesus. It turns out that he had misunderstood the song “Lo, in the Grave He Lay, Jesus Our Savior.” It was one of those Thanksgiving moments you just don’t forget. That night we finished our prayer laying in gravy!”