Every Thanksgiving as children, we begged our Dad to tell his now famous “Gobble gobble” story. He rolled his eyes and sighed, reluctant to share this not-so-happy memory of his childhood Thanksgiving. Over the years, we even corrected him while telling his own story. Imagining how our grown folks ever being young and disobedient was such a kick to hear after having spent a lifetime being told how good they were.
It began one cold November day while living in Wichita Falls, MO., a few days before Thanksgiving. Dad and his older brother were excited with the anticipation of a holiday when school was suspended and everyone observed a day of friendship and feasting. For hours on end, day after day leading up to the event, Dad kept charbling “Gobble gobble gobble” in his best turkey imitation. His Mother patiently reminded him to stop or his Father would have a say. Like all young boys, the repetitive sound was too much fun and since boys will be boys, he kept at it, “gobble gobble gobble”, all about the house. The night before Thanksgiving, his Dad, who was not quite as patient as his Mother and undoubtedly tired from his strenuous job, was tried by his youngest son's silliness, thus threatening him at the utterance of anything remotely sounding like a bird or any other barnyard animal. When Grandpa spoke, it was law. Dad was rather miffed at having been chastised by his Father and went to bed a bit chaffed, plotting his revenge.
When the sun came up it signaled the beginning of Thanksgiving Day with all the food and fun that was yet to come. His parents put on their coats and explained that they had errands to run, assuring them they would return momentarily while reminding them to be “good”. As Dad watched his parents back out of the carriage house garage behind their home, their Oakland Eight rumbling slowly past the corner of the old house, he felt a safe distance between himself and the “old man”, of whom he affectionately referred. Almost in the clear and certainly out of range, Dad felt compelled to throw up the dining room sash and yell out the window at the top of his lungs his best “Gobble gobble gobble”! With that came the screech of brakes and a slam of the front door which resulted in a very sad and silent little boy. From that day on, he never, ever dare say “Gobble gobble gobble” again, at least not while his Father was still alive. Grandpa died many years before any of us were born but we still had to coax Dad into sharing his ill-fated story.
As each of us grew older, college and marriage put distance between us. We always managed to send our holiday sentiments in a greeting card or a long distance phone call, reduced to 3 simple words in our familiar family code; “Gobble gobble gobble”!
Both our folks are long gone but we have children and friends who now know the story. With this Thanksgiving I wish everyone “Gobble gobble gobble”.