Roasted to perfection

| 21 Feb 2012 | 10:52

    Though I've lived in Orange County for 37 of my 44 years, my most memorable Thanksgiving occurred back in 1966, a year before my family moved up to Harriman from Tenafly, NJ. Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays. One that my family always celebrated with my aunts, uncles, and cousins and still do to this day. As per our usual Thanksgiving tradition, we would be traveling to my Grandmother's house in Leonia, NJ, a 10 minute drive. In those days, my family owned a VW Bus, the original mini-van. With five children, it was certainly a very practical car. Someone in my family had named the bus "Bouncing Billy" and while I was too young to remember who named it, I can attest to the fact that it was well deserved. It was moms turn that year to cook the turkey and of course the turnips. Turnips!? That awful smell! On one hand the mouth watering aroma of the roasting turkey slowly cooking under mom's watchful eye, then without warning your nose assailed by the wretched smell of the dreaded turnips! Oh, well the adults seemed to like them so mom made them. Finally, the bird was done! Golden brown, succulent, roasted to perfection! The bird was wrapped in foil, covered with a yellow checkered kitchen towel (I can still see it 38 years later) and dutifully trundled out to Bouncing Billy by my father. Now for those of you that remember, VW buses had their engines in the back so there was a raised platform in the rear, leaving the bus with a small hatch. With the turkey safely tucked in, all that remained was to pile in and go. As luck would have it that fateful day, traffic was mercifully light as we happily drove to Grandma's house. Traveling along on Grand Avenue my father slowed to make a left on Park Avenue. As we slowed, we hit a rather large bump in the road, Bouncing Billy reacted in his usual bouncing way. The hatch flew open and that turkey took a flight for one last time before hitting the pavement and taking a tumble with a shout from my mother. My father screeched to a halt, mom jumped out and ran back, arms outstretched stopping traffic, then tenderly scooping up the wayward bird. Somehow between the foil and the towel, the turkey was amazingly intact - just a hint of road rash and maybe a piece or two of gravel.