It was Thanksgiving in 1974 and Monterey, CA was not all that bustling like it is now. The cars were fewer than those on foot and there were more houses than there were stores. Banks opened at 10am and closed at 3pm and there were no ATM’s to be found. The internet was a distant idea in the minds of those holed up in garages with thick glasses on big keyboards with even bigger servers. Phones were rotary and you could call someone with the dime in your pocket.
My mother, single (still at 63 she has never been married), was working two jobs full-time for a total of $96.00 a week. Her dream was to go to school and get her degree in Critical Communications/Mass Communications at UCSD. She did succeed at this goal, but that’s another story for another day.
It was Thanksgiving Day and Kimmie (my mom) had cooked a turkey. The next door neighbors were invited to come over because Kimmie didn’t believe in making any food without having others over to celebrate in the festivities; especially during the Holidays. We lived on Major Sherman Lane and the next door neighbors had 7 (seven) kids, each a year apart, and one more on the way. They were all boys and their names all started with the letter “D”…… ’nuff said about them.
One of the next door neighbor boys was given the order to ‘go next door and get the turkey on the counter’.
About 10 minutes later, he comes back to Kimmie (who was next door visiting at the time) and was a bit confused when he said, “there’s no turkey on the counter.” To which Kimmie replied exasperated – how could you miss a freakin’ turkey! – “I think you’ve been smoking a bit too much p*t” and marched back to the little house.
Well, he may have been smoking a bit too much of the Mary Jane, but he was right. The turkey had been stolen. Not only had it been stolen, there was no evidence. Not one wing, thigh or even a drip of juice….what happened to the turkey? Who would steal our turkey? Especially on Thanksgiving? What kind of Grinch would do this to us? A mean Grinch, that’s who!
Kimmie started to cry. With no money left and nothing to eat we were left with a bit of brown rice and salad – a staple for us. We ended up watching Lawrence Welk on the black and white television with silver rabbit ears on the only channel we received.
Kimmie was friends with the Editor of the Monterey Herald at the time and had told her friend the story that night as those who wanted to ‘touch base’ called us on the rotary phone to wish us a Happy Thanksgiving. What started out as a really depressing night became really funny because we just couldn’t figure out where that turkey went or who would steal a turkey….it was such a weird happenstance. We laughed at the entire situation and what started as a real bummer became a real hoot to us!
The next day, the Senior Editor published the story about our turkey being stolen and by 4pm on the 28th of November there was a truckload of turkeys and food delivered to our little bungalow house. So much so that we couldn’t even figure out how such a small community could come up with this much food! We took only what we needed to make a turkey dinner and delivered the rest to the local churches and community centers.
Kimmie was filled with love and was so happy that people could care that much about us – those people who didn’t know us wrote us cards and sent us money even. It was really amazing how the little sleepy Monterey, CA community came together to wish us such love and goodwill.
Two weeks later I was playing behind the Major Sherman Lane bungalow right before I became very ill with the Swine Flu and I found the turkey bones. Turns out the people with the seven kids and one on the way had a pregnant dog and she was hungry – she stole the turkey! I can’t blame the pregnant mommy. Turns out her puppies were really cute!
So, why am I telling you this story?
Because even though it was really a bummer not to have a turkey on Thanksgiving, Kimmie and I had a really great time together eating brown rice and salad watching Lawrence Welk on the silver rabbit eared television. When you operate from the true power of love and generosity you realize that nothing, not one thing in this world is able to take you down with it.
We are entering the holiday season with Halloween quickly approaching. Before you know it Thanksgiving, and then Christmas comes on like a freight train.