From the Dec. 10, 1943 edition of the Gazette by Joseph Chase Allen:

Thanksgiving comes, like Christmas, but once a year, and so far as we are concerned, that is sufficient.

We have dined on turkey for lo, these many years, and can enjoy it. But we doubt — we seriously doubt — if we can ever again look at a turkey, alive or cooked, without experiencing a pang of terror and dread, and all because we yielded to the desire of Our Queenly Consort and consented to carve at the table.

The beginning was commonplace enough. Said the Light of Our Life, as she folded her half of the Gazette and extended it to trade for our half: “you will recall that Aunt Hannah and Uncle James gave us a beautiful carving set last Christmas, and that we have never used it.”

“Yes,” we replied, “It is indeed a beautiful set of cutlery. It might not be at all amiss if we whetted up the knife and used it to dismember our Thanksgiving bird, providing we succeed in obtaining one.” This conversation took place, be it understood, some days before Thanksgiving. It languished at this point, and we thought no more about it until the night before the great feast day. Then Our Queenly Consort again broached the subject.

“I have succeeded,” she said, as she again folded her Gazette, “in securing a very fine turkey. Recalling your apparent willingness, not to say desire, to use the new carving set upon this bird, perhaps it would be in order that you sharpen the knife.”

“A timely suggestion,” said we, as we slowly uncoiled our well-shaped, though slightly overweight, limbs, preparatory to examining the knife.

“That will be splendid,” said the Dream of Our Youth; “it always upsets me to see a bungling job of carving done.” “Well,” said we, placidly, “you can occupy yourself in the dining room while we are busy in the kitchen, and then, in case we make a wrong move, you will not be present to see it.” “On the contrary,” said the Lady of Our Household, sitting up a trifle straighter, “I have planned that you will carve at the table. After all, why conceal that beautiful carving set in the kitchen when it can be displayed before our guests?” Under such circumstances, what was there for us to say? Nothing, and this is exactly where the conversation ended. Picture the passage of hours, the delicious aroma of roast turkey pervading our domicile, the arrival of the guests, the preparations for dinner, and finally the bearing of the turkey to the table, where it looked most appetizing to everyone save our cringing self. And finally picture ourself, a slightly stooping figure, slightly past middle age, slightly bald, and slightly faltering, as we approached the operation that lay ahead.

We picked up the ornate working tools, and thrust the fork into the body of the bird. We misjudged, and struck the breastbone instead of the meat. The fork glanced from the bone to strike, with one greasy drumstick, the white tablecloth. We saw Our Queenly Consort bite her lip, but she said nothing.

We succeeded in anchoring our fork in the bird, and attacked a drumstick. The incision was halfway through when the bird slipped again, this time sliding over the opposite side of the platter, to leave a dark, greasy stain on the tablecloth. We dragged it back into the platter and continued.

We made the prescribed cuts and turned out the bone with a deftness attained by years of experience. But as it parted from the torso, the latter left the platter entirely and skidded through a barricade of dishes, bouquets of flowers, and glasses, to land, happily, in the plate of Our Queenly Consort, who sat opposite us!

She arose and passed the turkey back to us, with a mirthless smile, remarking upon the potency of the cocktails, of which we had not enjoyed a taste. We also arose, to receive the bird, and once upon our feet, we handled the situation with much more ease. When we had concluded our operation, the formerly attractive table resembled the meat block in a grocery, but the gathering had been served.

The frigid atmosphere which fell upon that gathering was, however, painfully apparent. We saw our male guest furtively eying his spotted shirtfront. We observed our female guest attempting to wipe the cranberry from her gown, where it had been spattered by our efforts. We observed the Light of Our Life attempt to move dishes to cover the spots on the tablecloth, and our own spirits sank lower and lower.

They continued to sink as the day drew to a close, as our guests departed and the decks were figuratively cleared for the onslaught which we anticipated. But the blow did not fall.

We have not understood this, and we have worried; we have been filled with dread, not knowing what might be due. Now we know, and the sunlight has faded utterly from our existence. Today we overheard Our Queenly Consort say to a neighbor: “Yes, the Major made rather a mess of his first attempt at carving at the table, but practice makes perfect, and he will do much better at our Christmas dinner!”

Compiled by Hilary Wallcox