Childhood Thoughts When Beheading Fowl

This painting perfectly illustrates my great~grandmother’s kitchen in Cloverdale, California many years ago.
Let me tell you a story of a long~ago Thanksgiving…

As a very young child, I clearly remember her fragrant and busy kitchen on the momentous occasion.

Thanksgiving-Doris Lee, 1935
“Thanksgiving” ~ Doris Lee, 1935

It was a trip we made only on Thanksgiving.
Perhaps my father detested the ritual or, more likely, his uncles in attendance.
No matter…

it was an exciting day for a little girl of 5 or 6 like myself.

little girl linda
little linda lulu

Entering her old Victorian house on Main Street,
the wonderful smell of baking pies, a fat turkey roasting along with everything else she had been cooking for days, came steaming forth to greet me.
I ran through the creaking screen door, held open by a relative I didn’t know, straight to the back of the house.


Her kitchen was the heart of the place and where I wanted to be.
It came complete with a pie~rolling table (I have one too), the strange green wallpaper AND ceiling, the single light fixture, the checkered floor and the big black wood stove.

The large women, relatives whom I do not recall, wore full aprons in cotton calicoes trimmed in lace with straps that crossed in back.
There were never women who were thin!
My brothers and myself were the only children in attendance and often embraced into ample bosoms that bordered on suffocation!

The pie dough never went to the cat as in the painting (horrors!) but was rolled out and baked with a goodly portion of cinnamon and sugar on top.
Much better than deviled eggs or olives!
To this day, if I make pies, the “doughies” must also be made!

One year and perhaps the last meal I enjoyed there, we arrived a day early, staying with my grandmother who lived down the road and around the corner. My entire family lived either in this small town or one nearby. I had walked over to my great~grandmother’s house for a surprise visit,
catching her
“in the act”.┬á

Can you guess what she was doing?

As she inexplicably chased her turkeys and chickens
in the yard, I noticed her sharpened axe laid next to the chopping block, a large old stump of a tree.

She lived happily alone.
Her drunken husband wandered off years before.
They had lived in a small logging village high above the sea and it was rumored
“he fell off a cliff thus never knew what hit him…”

She was an independent woman.
She enjoyed her mother’s small pipe laced with cherry tobacco, rocking in her chair on the front porch. She often muttered about “Damned Yankees…”

Beauty is Good For You ~ It Makes You Feel Better!
Flapper Eva

And seemingly she liked committing this sinister deed.

She turned to me, her face red and sweating. I can still hear her panting. She simply announced this was to be our dinner tomorrow and asked me to
“Stand over there so he won’t get away this time.”

She may have had a flair for the dramatic.

I remember how skilled she was with that axe and more blood than I’d ever seen. Her many cats came from nowhere as the once proud turkey now headless, stumbled in circles for what seemed like hours.

Afterward he was set to steam in a huge pot on the canning stove she kept on her back porch, making it easier to pluck the feathers clean.
I felt no emotion for the headless fowl in the pot and had moved onto more tasty delights.

We washed up at the big old sink and headed to her berry patch, picking bowls of sweet berries for Thanksgiving pies.
Simple as that.

Shall I tell you about her mincemeat?


To you, kind and faithful readers…
I am grateful for the day I began this blog
because it led me to

As we celebrate Thanksgiving here in the US, may your day be filled with gratitude, love and pie!

late sunflowers
late sunflowers

Originally penned many years ago…


27 thoughts on “Childhood Thoughts When Beheading Fowl

  1. Thank you for sharing that lovely story, It reminds me exactly of growing up with my grand parents on the farm. Except uncle charles used the heel of his boot, so gross.
    Much love and pie to you.

    1. thank you , my dear and the same to you… frankly now much fatigued here with the little ones(and grown ones) as you are too. hoping your day brings delights and of course, pie. ­čÖé

  2. Thank you for reminding me of my childhood memories of Thanksgiving!! I am happy that we have connected and are sharing the journey with hearts full of gratitude.

    ÔÇťPiglet noticed that even though he had a Very Small Heart, it could hold a rather large amount of Gratitude.ÔÇŁ A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh

    1. I hope your holiday was lovely if you celebrated it up there. ­čÖé

      thank you for your kind comments! I love the quote! xo

      1. ­čÖé ­čÖé ­čÖé

  3. What lovely things memories of childhood can be- when all just seemed to be as it should be. Thank you for sharing this one with us.

    1. I’m glad you enjoyed my ramble this morning, Joss. ­čÖé

  4. Wonderful story! Thanks for sharing, and Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

    1. Thanks so much for your always lovely comments! I am glad you enjoyed the ramblings of a weary woman. ­čÖé

  5. Lovely images and great family memories.

    1. Thank you Tony. And I hope your day had some pie in it too… ­čÖé

  6. The pictures are sheer delight and wonderful stories as well.
    I hope you’ve had a very Happy Thanksgiving, my friend.

    1. susan, i am sure you recall this tale… but it’s fun to share it again…. we’ve had a lovely time with family but as i think i said elsewhere, i am growing a tad weary now… everyone is succumbing to the crud and croup as well so it’s time for the feasting to end. much love to you, dear heart. xox

  7. So much packed into this post! I’m still mulling;) A cute little girl behind that enormous ball:)

    1. Elena, happy holiday to you… Hoping you have happy mullings! I meant it to be a bit dark, if you will… Always behind the mask, you know. xxxx

  8. Oh, what wonderful memories–even the getting smothered bit.
    Two horribly heavy wire crates–that’s what I remember the deed being done with. But the memories are vague. I’m not a good one for childhood memories. But I do remember the smells. OH my gosh….the smells of that holiday were fantastic.

    What an adorable photo of the child that still lives within. And what a pretty woman that Flapper Anne made. Lucky you to have photos of long ago.
    I’m hopeful the house has gone less croupy and more quiet. While it’s lovely to have ’em, it’s equally lovely to have ’em return to their own homes. LOL
    And if you’re this house–you can return the toilet paper to it’s appropriate ‘over’ position. (silly 4 year old likes to mess with her Nana…LOL)

    Blessings to you and yours, always!

    1. apologies mel, i’ve been down with a terrible bug caught from my beloveds. it’s all worth it tho might not get out of bed for a day, week or maybe next year… oy vey..!!

      crates? weird in my mind… can’t figure that one out but thats OK! ­čÖé

      must admit that is not a photo of my grannie… she wasn’t nearly that pretty. ­čśë {the stuff we do for a blog post. }

      glad you’re having a good holiday season, hoping for you all good things to come. blessings right back to you and yours for a loverly month and year to come. ♥

  9. Loved your grandmas story!

    1. thank you and so glad you did! blessings to you~~

  10. camilla wells paynter December 1, 2013 — 1:30 pm

    Your grandma sounds like a true old-school character! Those pie-dough treats were a tradition for me as well (ah, well, we can still dream about them, right? :-))

    1. yes, we can dream…. for another holiday i yearned for pie-pumpkin to be specific-but again was dashed because of that dratted crust… cannot seem to get that one right. ah well, certainly there are worse things…. hoping you are having a wonderful camping adventure!

  11. Wonderful story, love it and the memories you evoke. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family (even though the greeting is late).

    1. thanks mary… i’m happy you enjoyed my story…long ago memories. happy holidays to you and yours…

  12. Wonderful account. I experienced similar and hold them in my heart to this day.

    1. I am not sure it wasn’t inappropriate but at the time seemed almost natural. After all, I suppose there were no stores or butcher shops? I am not sure to this day but it is a memory I love to share with my grandkids as they sit wide-eyed! ­čÖé

  13. wonderful childhood memories… took me back to… to the days in the farm kitchen seeing all the hares and rabbits hanging up dripping the blood… It was a much better life i believe as far as eating meat was concerned, where we only ate what we had around… not the big animal farms we have now created, polluting our land and half of it going to waste… Barbara

    1. Agreed! Thanks for your comments! ­čśë

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