Big Billy – The Five Thanksgivings

You can never have too much of a good thing – especially if what you’re talkin’ about is Thanksgivin’ turkey.

I came up with this brilliant scheme last year. Me and the fellas were sittin’ in Big BIllyHorton’s one mornin’ havin’ our usual cuppa coffee. This was the Friday before the Thanksgivin’ weekend, and somewheres in between talkin’ about the start of the hockey season and how to fix Tommy’s furnace, Murph mentions how he can’t wait for the turkey his wife’s gonna cook up Sunday afternoon.

Ain’t that funny, now? says Cyril. You guys have your turkey at dinnertime, but Joan always makes our turkey for suppertime.

Cripes! The light bulb goes off in my head. Without seemin’ too interested, I ask each of them when they usually have their turkey. Timmy says they always have their turkey right at dinnertime – 12 noon on the nose. Tommy said they don’t choose between dinnertime and suppertime – they just eat at 3 o’clock. Murph said they usually eat at suppertime, but since his wife’s workin’ night shift this week (she sits up with old people), they’re gonna eat around 4:00 before she goes to work.

Now here’s where I got greedy – Cyril said Joan usually got their turkey ready right at 5:00 for supper, and I already know that’s the same time Minnie’s plannin’ on havin’ ours, because I heard her tellin’ Little Bill if he’s not home for supper right at 5:00, she’d put the broom somewhere he wouldn’t be thankful havin’ it.

Of course, in order to score five turkey suppers for myself, I knew I’d have to be a little bit sneaky about it. So I figured I’d come up with a reason to stop in and see each of my buddies on Sunday. And if I happened to accidentally drop in right when they’re eatin’ their turkey, it’s a pretty good bet they’d offer a plate to your ol’ pal Billy.

If you’re gonna be sneaky, you gotta be a good listener. While we were sittin’ there drinkin’ our coffee, like I said, Timmy mentioned he was havin’ trouble with his furnace. Cyril said he was tryin’ to strip and refinish a coffee table he found at the dump, and Murph said he’s just about losin’ his mind because his wife let the kids keep a stray dog and it just keeps takin’ a leak wherever it feels like in the house.

So I listen and store all that information away in the ol’ noggin. Sunday comes, and I tell Minnie I’m gonna run over Tommy’s to see if I can help him fix his furnace.

Of course, my first stop is actually Timmy’s, because they’re havin’ their turkey at 12. So I drive past his street a couple of times, and finally at about quarter after I pull in the driveway. Now, I didn’t have any reason to stop in, so I had to make somethin’ up.

I knock on the back door, and Timmy answers with a mouthful of turkey and a gob of cranberry sauce on his chin. Billy! he says.

Ohhh! I said, actin’ right mortified. I didn’t mean to interrupt your Thanksgivin’ dinner. I was just drivin’ by and figured I’d stop in. I heard a weird rattle in your exhaust when you were pullin’ out of the coffee shop the other day, and I figured since I got a few extra clamps out in the barn, maybe you could use one.

I handed him a scummy old clamp I grabbed from under the seat of my truck, and before he could even thank me, his wife Donna was handin’ me a plate full of turkey. It worked!

I stuffed myself silly at Timmy’s. Even stayed for the tea, and a thing of pumpkin pie Donna made herself. I’m tellin’ ya, it went off without a hitch. This is probably my most delicious scheme yet, I said to myself, headin’ over to Tommy’s place.

Same thing – he answers the door with a mouthful of food, I apologize like crazy, and hand him an old filter I thought he could use in his furnace. Five minutes later, I’m sittin’ in front of a mountain of turkey, Stove Top and potatoes.

The most ridiculous excuse of all I had to use at Murph’s. I stopped at the corner store and got a two-pack of paper towels. Murph answers the door swiggin’ a bottle of Keith’s with his fork still in his hand.

For when your dog makes a mess, I said, holdin’ out the paper towels. We had some extra so I just thought I’d drop them off while I was out.

Murph looked at me like I was crazy, but Mrs. Murph thought I was a sweetheart and rewarded me with about five pounds of white meat covered in gravy, and butterscotch pie for dessert.

I don’t know if you ever ate three turkey suppers one right after the other, but you start to get full, eh. When I knocked on Cyril’s door to lend him the belt-sander he didn’t ask for, I realized I forgot the sander. Didn’t matter, though – I swallowed turkey supper number four in about two bites because I was already late for Minnie’s strict 5 o’clock start time.

So I gumboot it home and, even though I’m startin’ to get full, I’m so excited to get away with four free turkey suppers that I can’t wait to get home and dig into my fifth.

Minnie and the kids are already eatin’ but there’s no plate in my spot.

Donna called to say you forgot your hat after you ate there and Joan called to say you left so fast after eatin’ at their place you wore Cyril’s boots home by mistake, Minnie said.

She shot me the evil eye all through supper but I made her laugh again by the time I got up for seconds.

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