It was summer. Late summer, but summer, nonetheless. The season of sweet corn and cheeseburgers, lemonade, berry pies, ice cream. I clearly remember the time of year because the look on my daughter’s face when I put the (very large) turkey in my grocery cart made it clear that this was not turkey season. Duck season, perhaps? Turkeys are for autumn or Christmas. The end.
I love turkey and once upon a time used to roast or smoke one of those beauties about every two weeks. It’s readily received for any meal, rather inexpensive for a growing family, and a healthy change from chicken which used to be the affordable meat option. I think they’re pretty easy to cook, too. Shove that bird in the oven for a few hours, flip it over once, crisp up the skin, and it’s a juicy, sweet, tasty treat. But clearly, it had been a number of years since I had served up the traditional Thanksgiving bird out of season.
“Mom. (Yes, period). Why are you buying a turkey. (Again, it was a definitely spoken period),” said the daughter.
“Be . . . cause,” I dragged that word out hesitatingly. Why was I buying a turkey?
“Because I like turkey. It’s, uh, tasty, and why should we have to wait for Thanksgiving for it? You’ll be glad I bought it when this turkey is golden brown and delicious on our dinner table, even in August,” I replied as much to myself as to my shopping companion.
The enormous turkey was finally free of its icy preservation, and now I must cook it. I admit to putting it off a bit, but once it was in the oven the amazing smell affirmed that it was the right decision. In the meantime, between purchase and roasting of said bird, a giant bushel of apples had come into my possession through a generous friend. As the saying goes, when life hands you apples, make applesauce . . . or something like that. I cook my applesauce in the oven so I don’t have to continuously stir it for hours until it reaches a smooth buttery-ness that I prefer. Between the aromas of roasting fowl and spicy apples, my kitchen smelled fantastic, but I was struggling to figure out how I was going to make these odd dinner guests into a meal.
A new friend’s family had been struggling with illness for weeks. Her husband especially had been direly ill with Covid, and our church was praying desperately for them. I suddenly felt a prompting to ask if I could bring her food. Please note, that I did not say “dinner”, because all I had to offer were the strange companions of turkey and applesauce. As I prayed over what to do, not wanting to seem like a super weird homeschooling mom who happened to be cleaning out her fridge, I tried to figure out if I could add something to my humble offerings. Potatoes? I was out. Rice? I don’t know. Nothing seemed quite right.
“God, I want to help, but all I have to offer is turkey and applesauce. It’s so weird!” I prayed quite loudly in my studio.
It is enough, He whispered.
I gathered up my courage and texted my friend, offering what felt like moldy loaves and overripe fishes. I don’t remember for sure, but I think there were several disclaimers of, “I don’t know what you’ll do with this,” and “If it’s too strange, just tell me; I won’t be upset”.
She called me back within just a couple of seconds of me texting and there were tears in her voice, “Jordan, I can’t even tell you . . . Brian has eaten nothing for three weeks. Nothing. Except turkey and applesauce.”
Lord, may my feet ever walk where You lead.
Though the road be disquieting and humbling,
give me quiet, humble courage,
for there are friends along the way who need the very things that cause me to scratch my head.
You are the Lord of the Roast Turkey,
You are the King of Applesauce.
You do not call me to walk in echoing, stone lined sanctuaries,
But through grocery stores.
You haven’t ordained my path through stained glass palaces,
But to farmer’s markets.
You haven’t led me to grandiose halls,
But in steamy kitchens.
Even in the mundane,
The common work of roasting and rendering,
You prepare a table before me
And line it with friends
Who delight alongside me that
You are the God of Turkey and Applesauce.
Featured image is courtesy of Jordan Durbin and used with her kind permission for Cultivating.
Second-generation homeschooling mom of five wee snickbuzzards, Jordan Durbin is a maker of humble pottery, fine artist, calligrapher, gardener, pickle maker, baker of all things gluten-inclusive and butter-laden, violinist, vocalist, rabbit raiser, wife of one good man, lover of her blessed Redeemer. She has a Bachelor’s degree in fine art from Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana. She is an avid coffee drinker, reader, and published children’s book author and illustrator. She aspires to proclaim the resurrection with every moment of her life.
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