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Thanksgiving in Turkey

Continued from in front of you

so that Bob (is that his name?) and I and the kids were pushed down onto the pavement and told to keep our eyes to the ground as the entourage passed by, snaking its way toward Mount Ararat and the grave of the Apostle Paul.

     “Hey, mom,” said little Bennie, “says in this brochure that Turkey is larger than Texas. Is that for real?”

     “No, stupid, it’s just all that jihad propaganda,” piped sister Beatrice from the pruned position. “Where did you get that brochure anyway?”

     “Shut-up bitch,” said little Bennie. “Nobody’s talking to you!”

     “Now kids, let’s try to put our hatreds aside. We’re miles from our hotel and not out of this yet,” said Dad. “These people are naturally friendly and engaging. They just have to get to know us. I thought St. Paul was buried at Lookout Mountain…”

     No, that’s Buffalo Phil, fool,” said mom.

     Finally, and not without more fanfare, the procession passed. The strange men in robes told us to get up and walk to the east and we would find true enlightenment…and our hotel.

     “I wanna see Noah’s Arc,” said Beatrice, “and the ancient city of Troy. What a beat vacation. All my friends in Chicago will laugh at me if they find out I came all the way to Turkey without…”

     “Wait, daddy,” I said to my husband, “isn’t that the road to Istanbul, or is it the road to Constantinople? They must sell ottomans there. I just have to have an authentic Turkish Ottoman or I’ll just die.”

     “What about dinner?” whined Bennie. “We’ve been here three days and I haven’t seen a taco anywhere. Today is Thanksgiving. Where’s the stuffing?”

     “Now Bennie,” said my husband, whose name eludes me just now, “this isn’t America. One has to adapt. Sure, all of these rugheads wish they were in America, the land of the free, but they aren’t. They’re marooned here in Asia Minor…have been for centuries. I thought you liked the filberts in barley sauce that mom cooked up last night.”

     “I want pizza,” screamed Beatrice much to the chagrin of a large angry crowd that had now gathered, blocking our exit from behind one of a hundred mosques that crowd the cobbled square. “I hate filberts!”

     “And where is the football!” demanded little Bennie. “Don’t these Tartar savages know that it’s Thanksgiving?”

     “I hate tartar sauce too,” mumbled Beatrice, “and Kurds and whey…

     “Stop!” cried daddy. “Look a fez stand right out here in the middle of nowhere. I think we should all take home a fez as a souvenir from this lovely trip. Say there sahib. How much for four fezzes…is that the proper term? Yeah, four…and don’t try to screw me. I’m an American and I have rights.”

      At that he pulled out a U.S. fifty which the man selling the fez hats quickly grabbed and stashed in his robe. He smiled and then let go of the hats.

     “Those hats look stupid,” said Beatrice, and for once her little brother agreed. We must have looked quite the sight wandering down those snarled filthy streets, sipping a Raki looking for some familiar signs of home.

     “I have to pee,” said Bennie.

     “We need to find a halkevi, or house of the people. Surely they will have indoor facilities…

     “And cleanliness,” I crisply quipped.

     “And a make-up mirror,” added Beatrice.

     “And some good old American toilet paper,” smiled Daddy.

     “We could ask someone,” I said melodically, swept up in the worldly banter of a man I no longer knew.

     “None of these bozos talk American,” said Bennie

     “Turkish isn’t so hard to learn,” said Dad as he wagged his finger at a would-be thief. “The Turks borrowed many Arabic and Persian words during the Ottoman Empire, then Kemal Ataturk changed the whole shootin’ match over to the Roman alphabet in 1928.”

     “How does he know all that?” whispered Beatrice in my direction.

     “Daddy was once a Middle East expert in of the Bush Administrations, dear,” I explained.

     “It’s worthless information about a country that prefers figs to cranberry sauce, olives to pumpkin pie…”

     “Shhhhh,” Bennie. Here come the mashed potatoes!”

     As I looked up I saw thousands of men in the street. There were Turks from Ankara, Turks from Izmir, Turks from Cyprus. All were working together pushing a massive vat of freshly mashed potatoes, thinly veiled in Seljuk mohair, toward the largest of the mosques to the east of the square.

     “Wow, dad!” said Bennie.

     “Where are all the women?” asked Beatrice.

     “Maybe they do celebrate Thanksgiving in Turkey,” I flinched. 

     “Look, kids. Look! It’s the march of the turkeys,” said Dad. “Look, honey, they’re coming this way. It’s going to be a wonderful holiday just like I told you. Honey? Honey? Hey, kids, where’s your mother?

     “Oh, she was forced into that black Mercedes by two men who have been following us since yesterday,” said Beatrice.

     “What? Forced into a car? gasped Daddy.

     “Relax, man she’ll be back for dinner,” said Bennie.

– Luanne Julienne 

Ms Julienne is a free-lance writer who lives in a big house in Connecticut. In addition to writing travel articles she raises amphetamines, which are then sold to collectors in New York. She hates yard sales because they contain tidbits of other peoples’ messy lives.