The Day I Carved My First Turkey

I used to watch my dad carve the turkey. He had one of those electric knives that looks like a mini hedge trimmer. I can’t wait to do that someday, I thought to myself. 

Then we started celebrating at Aunt Gwen’s house, sometimes Aunt Linda’s. My uncles performed the carving ceremony. I knew better than to ask if I could help. Knives were dangerous for a little kid. Potentially even more dangerous were questions. 

I’ll just wait, I thought. It’s probably something you learn naturally. Something taught to you in a dream in your mid-30s on Thanksgiving Eve. 

Years passed. Non-Aaron Espe-carved turkeys came and went. To make matters worse, I married a vegetarian. She could never understand. 

Then one recent November, I’d had enough. I drove to Kroger, reached into the deepfreeze and slung one over my shoulder. I summoned my inner “this ain’t my first rodeo, folks” and marched to the checkout line. I got in and out before any bona fide turkey carvers could point me out and laugh. Before Kroger sounded a bell that alerts grocery shoppers of a poser in aisle #4. 

You know the saying, “fake it till you make it”? That’s the theme of this whole story. Because on Thanksgiving Day, 2017 I successfully (mostly) carved my first turkey. Let’s all pause briefly, because I’d like to take this moment to thank some guy on You-Tube. You really broke it down into simple steps for me and made me believe in myself. Thank you. 

Now here’s to all you grownups who have yet to carve your first turkey. (Why not today?) And here’s to the kids watching the adults in awe. 

Happy Thanksgiving!