The Stranger and the Christmas Turkey

Turkey. I haven't had a taste of the bird in over three years. And no one's flipped me the bird since my asawa and I moved to the Philippines in July 2009. I was excited as a 16-year-old boy watching his first Ara Mina flick knowing I would be soon enjoying this delectable treat (the bird, that is.)  I prayed that it would not meet the same fate as the Old Man's Christmas turkey stolen by the neighbor dogs in "A Christmas Story." There were a lot of canines prowling the premises. I was getting nervous.  My asawa and I were at Fergus' and Rose's residence for Christmas Eve. During our first visit to their beautiful home, we were invited back for the Christmas Eve celebration.  I'm always shocked when I get invited back some where, but I guess our new friends took pity on us since I had not had satisfied my craving for turkey for so long. French Canadian expat Fergus had procured a turkey with the help of Mabel at the SM City Supermarket in Iloilo.

This was going to be our new friend's first Christmas in the Philippines. He had previously made a visit to the SM City Supermarket and had asked if he could reserve one of the two turkeys in stock for Christmas. He was advised they could not do that. So when Fergus made a return trip some time later for a Christmas turkey, he discovered that all the birds were gone. Probably taken by some selfish American expats in Iloilo that wanted them for Thanksgiving.

No more turkeys were expected to arrive. My Canadian expat friend was understandably disappointed. But sales associate Mabel had already made a call to the SM Delgado store in Iloilo City, who had some turkeys in stock, and asked them to reserve a Christmas turkey until the end of the week,  Saturday. The day Fergus had returned to purchase the bird was Sunday. Plenty of time to pick up the precious package. An exemplary example of exceptional customer service. 

Fergus, armed with a meat thermometer, was continually checking on the condition of the bird as we anxiously awaited the arrival of the featured dish to the dinner table. The heavenly aroma that hung in the air and the anticipation was only heightened by a steady stream of chilled bottles of San Miguel Pale Pilsen that our gracious host kept me supplied with. My asawa sat with a contented look on her face as she lovingly gazed at her cold bottle of T-Ice. I used to get those looks when we were first married.

We were only now an estimated 30 minutes from the turkey being done. The blessed Christmas turkey would soon be in front of my fat face. I was trembling with excitement. After over a three year wait, I would soon be stuffing chunks of white turkey meat into my mouth, savoring every delicious morsel. This had to be an inkling of what heaven must be!

But our mood was soon shattered by the sound of a motorcycle that roared up to the front gate! The rider pulled off his helmet and the stranger walked towards us. He was a cop! Were we going to be arrested for enjoying ourselves and guzzling too much Pale Pilsen ? All will be revealed in the next post.

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17 Comments on The Stranger and the Christmas Turkey

  1. Andrew // 12/27/2011 at 6:38 am //

    Ah there you go Dave leaving us in suspense. My guess is the police is a friend of Rose and Fergus. Not coming there to collect “fees” from you. Am I right? After all, I see you sitting by the turkey with a content smile on your face. At least I think that’s you, the beard is gone.

    • Nope, Fergus and I had no idea who the cop was, Andrew. I’ll have the details coming up in the next post. ;-)
      And yes, the full beard is gone. Just a closely-cropped goatee. The asawa didn’t like the full grey beard. Can’t dye the beard anymore, my baby-smooth skin is too sensitive now. I like a full beard that covers my face more, but I guess I’ll be going with this look for awhile.

  2. Christine // 12/27/2011 at 7:20 am //

    Just out of curiousity, are the turkeys in the Philippines of decent size? Like the ones you buy in the US and Oz? When I was in Cebu last year, I saw some turkeys wandering near my Auntie’s yard. But they were small. More like overgrown chickens. So I wonder if the shop turkeys are imported and hence large?

    • I failed to mention, Christine, that the bird was an imported Butterball. And yes, I’ve seen some turkeys (the birds, that is) in the Philippines, and they indeed were very small.

  3. Hey Dave, the last time my wife and I was in the Philippines, we went shopping at Shopwise, I always look around the frozen foods and I saw turkeys, all were Butterball.The next thing that caught my I was the price, around $39.00 . I guess it’s not to bad if your hungry for the bird. Anyway have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year.

    • Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you, also, J. We don’t have a Shopwise around here, but I did see the Butterballs when we first arrived, and they were expensive. Wasn’t in our budget at the time, and we don’t have an oven to bake it in anyway. Guess we could have rigged up one of those deep fryer cookers. Have a great New Year.

  4. The Ice Man // 12/27/2011 at 11:49 pm //

    A belated Merry Christmas to you, Dave and Melinda! With our daughter away at college in Quezon City, we didnt’ really celebrate this year, but did cook a nice ham with sides of sweet potatoes and a green bean casserole. Can’t forego a good Christmas dinner!
    Alas, it has been cold and snowy in Colorado! “They” can have their white Christmas! I’d rather be in the tropics! With the short days and long nights this time of year, it’s difficult to stay sane. Thankfully, it is a time of much football on TV!

    Regarding that beautiful home in your neighborhood, you are really living “uptown”. That’s a huge change from your little abode on Guimaras island. I’m guessing you won’t be settling for less when you build your own home. Our own home in Nueva Ecija will be completed by the end of the week, on time and…….er, over budget. I’ll explain sometime soon!

    • Thanks, Ice Man, Merry Christmas to you and yours. Congratulations on the new home. Loved the story you sent me and will be running it this week. A note to readers, Ice Man’s post contains some good examples of possible pitfalls when building a house in the Philippines. Be sure to look for it.

      We’re living the good life, that’s for sure. As today’s story concludes, you might tell by the picture we’re having a great time. Love our new place and when we build I’ll definitely keep in mind your article. I will say that I am envious that you do have closets. :-) Have a great New Year and thanks for the info. Take care.

      • PapaDuck // 12/29/2011 at 4:41 pm //

        Dave,
        That turkey sure looks good, glad you got to enjoy it. Looking forward to part 2. I would pay alot for a turkey over the holidays, since its only a couple of times a year. Also looking forward to seeing Monty’s new house. Be safe for New Years.

        • It was a great turkey, Papa Duck. Monty’s new house looks fantastic. That story will be coming up shortly. I think the readers will enjoy it. Have another post from Tom Ramberg coming up next and after that, The “Ice Man.” :-)

  5. Beer, turkey, and the cops that sounds like a party I would enjoy being at.

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