Marketing, oh yeah, this is why we eat turkey for Thanksgiving.

26 11 2009

Do you know why you eat turkey every year for Thanksgiving dinner? No, it’s not because that is what is on sale that week. No, it is not because the Pilgrims and the Indians ate turkey. You eat turkey because the turkey growers all got together and promoted the selling of turkeys for Thanksgiving each year.

Don’t believe that? Well, I was there and saw it all and heard what was said, so I know first hand how we all came to eat turkey for Thanksgiving dinner each year.

A couple owned a grocery store a couple of blocks from my home when I was a kid. At that time, neighborhoods all had a local grocery store  on a corner every few blocks. This one was a regular grocery with a butcher behind the big glass counter and a cash register near the front door and a few cans of everything imaginable. They also stocked fresh bread and milk and eggs. My mother went to town each week on the day she kept the car. She drove down to Main Street where she bought the bulk of her groceries for the week. Then when we ran out of something during the week, she would send us kids to walk to the grocery store and pick up whatever she needed. It was usually that bread or milk. She had her own chickens, so it wasn’t eggs that’s for sure.

Anyway, the couple sold their grocery store and started a turkey farm. This was the only turkey farm I had ever heard of. When you grow turkeys, you have to make cages that sit up off the ground. That is where the turkeys are housed. The cages are different looking, so when you drive out in the country and see the turkeys in their jacked up cages, you know instantly what they are.

Well, this lady and her husband had gone into the turkey business in a big way. They had lots and lots of cages all around their property out in the country.

After about a year or so, the lady called my mother on the telephone and asked if she could come by and talk to her. This was in early Fall of that year. Being a kid, I was running in and out of the living room while mother and the lady talked. Seems the lady came by to convince my mother to order a turkey for her Thanksgiving dinner. The turkey would already be killed, of course, and plucked, and ready to roast. Mother listened to all the lady had to say. The lady said that the turkey growers had gotten together in this country and were promoting having turkey for Thanksgiving dinner each year. All of them were out taking orders right now. Mother had prepared different meals for Thanksgiving over the years. Mostly, we just had a chicken hen out of the chicken yard. One year, mother prepared a goose and it was truly awful. But since my daddy worked on Thanksgiving Day just like any other day of the year, Thanksgiving dinner was not a priority at our house anyway.

But since the grocery store lady was a sort of friend, Mother decided to order a turkey that year.

Soon after that, Mr. Roosevelt made a speech on the radio saying that Thanksgiving Day would henceforth be an official holiday for these United States.

And you know what? After that, we began seeing pictures in the newspapers and on billboards and in books of smiling, happy people eating turkey for Thanksgiving dinner every year. And sure enough, turkey is what most people expect to have for Thanksgiving dinner every single Thanksgiving. And that is why you eat turkey every year for your Thanksgiving dinner.

You can read this story and many others like it in my books. Only $5 each, they have a wealth of humor, information, and history in them. Try one.

Happy Thanksgiving!



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