This year, 18 of us will get together for Thanksgiving. We all have food assignments. Mine has always been the turkey, the stuffing and the gravy.

And since Thanksgiving is filled with tradition, we have always, always eaten a Butterball turkey. Not only do we slice up the big bird on Thursday, but the leftovers come out of the refrigerator on Friday and we have Thanksgiving dinner for lunch.


So basically, I'm cooking turkey for 36.

A few years ago, I ran all over North County looking for a large turkey. Everywhere I went, I found freezers stuffed with 18 or 19-pound turkeys.

Being that I'm old - and with age comes wisdom – the other day I saw Safeway had Butterballs on sale and decided to call first before I drove to Jacksonville to pick up my family's feast.

Javier in the meat department said he didn't know if he had any large turkeys, but told me to call back in 30 minutes.

When I did, he was proud to say he had picked through the frozen fowl and found a biggie.

Some 15 minutes later, I showed up and he hoisted a 23.5-pound beauty into my cart. I was in a good mood all the way home, until I dragged it into my kitchen and then just stared at my already full freezer.

With some smooshing, some stacking and some rearranging, I finally wedged Tom Turkey into my freezer without having to throw out any ice cream, chicken breasts or hamburger.

People may talk about the magic of Christmas, but in my kitchen that day, I experienced a Thanksgiving miracle.

Now, let's hope I'm as lucky and thawing and cooking that monster.

Have a great holiday. I hope your turkey is moist, your gravy and mashed potatoes smooth and your family happy.