The Missing Bird

The foreign scent of ham reached my nose.

“Why aren’t we having turkey?” I asked. “Why ham? Who even likes ham?”

“Because everybody has turkey for Thanksgiving,” said my aunt. “We wanted to give people a break from turkey. I bet you’ve eaten at least two turkey dinners so far.”

“I have had zero turkey dinners. Zero.”

“Really? Why?”

“Because everybody thinks everybody has turkey.”

“Well you can cook yourself a turkey, how’s that?”

She returned to the oven, turned on the oven light, and watched the glistening ham.

I turned to my brother. “Is it too much to want turkey on Thanksgiving?”

“Oh, are we having the turkey conversation again?”

“We haven’t—what? We haven’t had a ‘turkey conversation.’ I’m just saying that—”

“It’s Thanksgiving and—”

“—that it’s Thanksgiving—thank you—and you have turkey on Thanksgiving. Nobody is thankful for ham.”

“I like ham.”

“No you don’t.”

It became tradition. Ham Thanksgiving. Probably just to spite me. This year was no different, except everyone was by now familiar with the “turkey conversation.”

“You know,” I said after a mouthful of honey-glazed ham. “This is actually really good.”

My family exploded with “Finally!” and “He sees the light!” and “The great turkey debate is over!”

I still hated the ham. But I was tired of having nothing to be thankful for.

– H.

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