Deb Raney’s Turkey in the Basement, Thanksgiving Special

Beloved author and speaker Deb Raney shares a lulu of a story bound to make other Thanksgiving tales pale in comparison, except it isn’t exactly about Thanksgiving~~~

Raw turkey lrMy in-laws moved to California and we were privileged to live in their sprawling 7-bedroom house in my husband’s hometown for eight years while our kids were little. One fall I WON a 20-pound turkey in our small town’s Thanksgiving drawing. Since the bird wouldn’t fit in the freezer of our refrigerator, we put it in the big, empty deep freeze that was in the bowels of the basement. We thought we’d just turn the freezer on for a few days until we were ready to cook the turkey. However, we ended up spending Thanksgiving at my parents’ house, and my mom had already bought a turkey, so after the holidays, I decided I’d thaw out the turkey I won and roast it for a days’ worth of meals for our little family. I unplugged the freezer thinking I’d just go down and retrieve the turkey the next morning when it should be just about ready for the oven.

Welllll… fast forward to the following August. My in-laws are coming for a visit from California and I’m a nervous wreck about hosting them in their OWN house. I start cooking while we wait for them to arrive, except for some reason the flies are just AWFUL. They seem to be coming from the unfinished, dungeon of a basement. We go down to see if one of the kids has left some food down there or something. There is a horrific SMELL coming from the vicinity of…the freezer! The old unplugged freezer. The one that hasn’t been opened since November when I put that turk––oh. my. gosh!! I never did cook that thing.

And of course, just as Ken is opening the freezer to reveal this decaying bird and a dead-body stench that wafted for MILES––who should pull into the driveway but his parents. They couldn’t have been more gracious as they helped us bury the putrid carcass. But that HAS to be my most embarrassing moment EVER. 🙂


DeborahRaney2013DEBORAH RANEY’s first novel, A Vow to Cherish, inspired the World Wide Pictures film of the same title and launched her writing career after 20 happy years as a stay-at-home mom. Since then, her books have won numerous awards including the RITA, National Readers Choice Award, HOLT Medallion, the Carol Award, and have twice been Christy Award finalists. Deb’s 23rd novel released from Howard/Simon & Schuster in May 2013 and she is currently working on a five-book series for Abingdon Press Fiction. Deb enjoys teaching at writers’ conferences across the country. She and her husband, Ken Raney, recently traded small-town life in Kansas ––the setting of many of Deb’s novels––for life in the (relatively) big city of Wichita where they enjoy gardening, antiquing, movies and traveling to visit four children and a growing brood of grandchildren who all live much too far away.

Visit Deb on the Web at

Newly released Remember to Forget:


About Linda W. Yezak

Author/Freelance Editor/Speaker (writing and editing topics).
This entry was posted in Authors, Cooking and Recipes, Guest Posts and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

20 Responses to Deb Raney’s Turkey in the Basement, Thanksgiving Special

  1. Ah, nothing like the forgotten thawed turkey to welcome the in-laws. Of course, we could all see it coming the moment you unplugged the freezer. Yep, could have been anyone one of us, but oh so glad it was you instead. Great story, and sounds like great in-laws too!


  2. This is too funny. I had a similar run-in with a long-dead bird. Great laughter this morning!


  3. Ane Mulligan says:

    I’ve done a lot of things, but this one takes the prize, Deb. Too funny! LOL


  4. Why do those things always happen when the MIL is there to witness?


  5. debraney says:

    Thankfully I have a wonderful MIL who would only laugh with me when I was ready to laugh about it. 🙂


  6. But … why did you unplug the freezer? Regardless, hysterical!


  7. Linda Yezak says:

    Deb, thanks tons for giving us a giggle today!


  8. debraney says:

    Because the turkey was the ONLY thing IN the freezer and we didn’t want to pay to run it empty. And I was gonna cook it the very next day, right? Yeah, right. :}


  9. That is brilliant… and I’m only laughing because it’s JUST the sort of thing that would happen to me…


  10. Pammer says:

    This is a great story. Thanks for the laugh. And here I thought I was one of the only ones who did something like that. Or my wonderful daughter-in-law. LOL!


  11. Lynn Mosher says:

    Eeeewwwwww!!! LOL What a great story! Thanks for sharing it!


  12. Okay, that is just grim! I can practically smell it from here! LOL

    So glad to know that Deb Raney’s halo has at least one ding in it. 🙂


  13. debraney says:

    Oh, Linda, the halo is not only dinged, but completely askew! LOL! Thanks, all, for making my most embarrassing moment such a fun memory. Who knew!? 😉


  14. Kathy Turner says:

    Deb…that’s so gross! Love y’all!


  15. rpatchen says:

    Thank you, Deb! I needed that laugh today.


  16. I feel so much better about some of my cooking gaffes. Thanks for the giggle, Deb. 🙂


  17. This is hilarious and euuuuw all at the same time. The first turkey I cooked for my hubby was such a thrill…his sister visited and we talked until the wee hours. Got up the next morning and the turkey was sitting in the pan…had never made it to the refrigerator all night. We had to throw it out. it smelled bad but not like yours. Ouch. God DOES have a sense of humor!


  18. Shirley A Raney says:

    That is because your MIL has done some MOMENTS herself. LOL some I have never told. LOL
    Love you always and have loved sharing you with my son. LOL


  19. debraney says:

    I THOUGHT you might pop up on here, Mom! Now I can’t WAIT to find out what YOUR moments have been. Love you, too! Fun to share that story––now that 40 years have passed! 🙂


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