Kickass, the doorstop dog, listens as the keeper recalls the year that “Hitler” was served up for Thanksgiving dinner. He, the keeper, was a 2nd grader, WW II was raging, and out at Grandma Helgeland’s farm, an overgrown leghorn rooster had been wielding dictatorial sway over the farmyard. It had reached a point where the keeper and his younger sister Norma had been attacked and chased until they were afraid to venture out of grandma’s house. The situation peaked when Hitler treed Norma—screaming and crying, on the rungs of the windmill ladder, and she had to be rescued by Grandma.
Given the domination of the war on all aspects of life in the early 1940’s, naming grandma’s ugly rooster “Hitler” was as natural as buying War Stamps or enduring the sugar rationing that had eliminated Hershey bars and other childhood goodies.
So Hitler came to the Thanksgiving table surrounded by Grandma’s delicious traditional Norwegian dishes and with his drumsticks up in the “Heil” salute angle. Norma got a first serving, and the keeper remembers being a little jealous of that.
There may be some in-the-news names given to the featured “turkey” item on some of the Covid-restricted Thanksgiving tables today. That would put symbolic emotional gravy on some recent political developments, but it could never have the impact of that day so long ago when Hitler was the centerpiece at Grandma’s Thanksgiving dinner.
The keeper and Phyllis and Kickass wish everyone a household-only, Covid-free HAPPY THANKSGIVING!