A presidential tradition since Ronald Reagan, the presidential pardon of a Thanksgiving Turkey is part of the daffiness that makes this country a joy to live in. Presidents have received formal Thanksgiving turkeys since Harry Truman. Both Truman and Eisenhower, practical men who had known poverty growing up, ate the Turkeys given to them. (I assume the idea of turning away gift food would have struck them as blasphemous.) Kennedy spared one Turkey in 1963 and Nixon let a few escape the oven. It is appropriate that Reagan, tender hearted and a born showman, began the presidential pardon of our delicious native bird in 1987.
As we prepare for Thanksgiving tomorrow, and as we recall our blessings and thank God for each and every one, let us also remember the humble turkey and the various disasters that result when that proud bird is not treated with the care that it deserves, dead or alive. Oldtimers like myself will recognize the above video as part of the famous “Turkey Drop” episode from WKRP, a sitcom from the Seventies.
Of course Turkey Disasters are not, unfortunately, restricted to the realm of fiction. Deep frying a turkey poses various risks.
Here we have a case of the flaming avian:
William Shatner warns of the dangers of deep frying turkeys: