“Two Thanksgiving Turkeys,” Ensign, Oct. 1990, 64–65
We lost everything after Daddy died, including two of our three farms. Our money had gone to pay Daddy’s medical bills and, eventually, his funeral expenses. By the first of November, we found ourselves living in a small trailer court just outside of town. Each of us tried to find work to help out. I was fourteen and found a job in a fast-food restaurant working seven hours a day after school for $1.30 an hour.
As Thanksgiving approached, I found little in my heart to be thankful for. Mother bought a sorry-looking goose at the grocery store for our Thanksgiving feast. She tried to be cheerful and set a holiday mood. We responded as best we could, but our hearts just weren’t in it. It seemed no one cared about us and that all the promises we had heard at Daddy’s funeral had long been forgotten. We felt totally alone.
Then the day before Thanksgiving, we heard the doorbell ring. Mother went to the door, and the rest of us curiously gathered around. When Mother opened the door, no one was there. We looked around, puzzled.
“Look at that!” shouted my older brother, pointing to a twenty-pound Tom turkey on the front step. Our excitement mounted as we peered into the darkness to try to catch a glimpse of the generous giver. We couldn’t see anyone, so we hastily brought in the turkey. We danced and hugged each other, our faces radiant with the joy of receiving.
Then, quite unexpectedly, the doorbell rang again. We quickly hushed each other as Mother opened the door, and again we found a huge Tom turkey! Again we couldn’t see anyone. We brought in the turkey and set it beside the first one. How wonderfully strange! Two turkeys for Thanksgiving! I thought it must be some kind of dream, yet there they were, two turkeys side-by-side on the kitchen table. Mother got the goose out of the freezer, and we laughed as we compared it to the two heaven-sent birds.
A third time the doorbell rang. This couldn’t be! We looked around in puzzlement at each other. Again the scene was repeated, with one exception—this time there was a basket full of fruit, homemade rolls, and canned goods for our Thanksgiving feast. We stared in awe.
Mother’s eyes were full of tears as she motioned for us to kneel in prayer. She thanked the Lord for his graciousness and great love in sending these gifts to us through good people who cared. When the prayer ended, Mother looked at each of us and said, “Children, someone has made a mistake. We have two wonderful turkeys, and we need only one. Who shall we give the other one to?” Our faces beamed with joy, and tears swelled in our eyes. It was our turn to give.
Once more the scene was repeated, but this time we rang the doorbell. A mother answered the door, with her children curiously gathered around. They looked around—puzzled. They peered into the darkness, trying to catch a glimpse of the givers, but they did not see us. We sat very still in our hiding places, our faces radiant with the joy of giving. We wanted to remain anonymous. If they didn’t know our name, then tonight in their prayer of Thanksgiving, they would give thanks to Him who is ultimately the Source of every good gift.