A “Matrix” Thanksgiving

Every so often, I relate an article unrelated to SCI. Let me share with you one of this year’s favorite Thanksgiving memories. It’s about North Hope’s, my soon-to-be 7-year-old grandniece, enjoyment of her papa’s fried Thanksgiving turkey.

Normally, our traditional Thanksgiving spread is two turkeys, one fried and one smoked; three casseroles: a yellow squash and onion, a spinach with jalapeño, and a sweet potato with Wild Turkey; cornbread dressing with giblet gravy; cayenne turnips; an apple/orange/celery/pecan/cranberry congealed salad; pecan pie, and sometimes a pumpkin pie, as well.

Her papa (granddad Patrick) carved the fried turkey. Amidst conversations of anticipated enjoyment of our Thanksgiving smorgasbord, everyone began filling their plates while Papa walked around the table serving our chosen pieces.

North called for a leg that looked the size of her head. I wondered if she could pick it up.

The second the leg filled her plate, she effortlessly picked it up and bit through its charred crusty salt-seasoned skin. I wanted to turn away but was transfixed as the crunchy, yet gelatinous, skin took on a life of its own. It was like watching “The Matrix’s” Agent Smith morph into another form.

With a full mouth, she garbled, “I love the skin.”

I thought I would be sick. With each chew, it slipped off the leg, mercury-like, disappearing into her mouth.

Still holding the leg’s exposed naked meat for her next bite, but mentally ruminating its savor, she articulated her satisfaction: “I ate the skin.” then attacked the meat. Although I was laughing at my precious little carnivore’s descriptive narration, I was totally nauseated, holding back gags.

No one else was listening. She wasn’t talking to anyone. It was an innocent child’s monologue expressing her immense delight of fat-fried turkey skin.

How precious! How in-the-moment. How gross!

The moral: that we would live our truth, honestly, openly, and unapologetically.

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