Friday, January 15, 2021
Jan. 15, 2021

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Everybody Has a Story: Plenty to share with turkey jackpot

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My dad, Deemer Fryberger, bought a ticket for a turkey raffle from the fire department in Washougal when I was about 10 years old, in 1942. He also entered a drawing for a turkey at the grocery store where we did business. And then he bought a ticket for a turkey drawing from the union at the Pendleton Woolen Mill, where he worked as a weaver.

About a week before Thanksgiving, we went downtown to buy groceries. When we walked into the store, the staff told Dad he had won a turkey. Dad thought that was great. He wouldn’t have to buy a turkey for Thanksgiving.

Later on he was walking down the street and one of the firemen came up to him and told him that he had won the turkey raffle. Dad thought, well, two turkeys are OK.

That afternoon when he went to work at the woolen mill, one of the men said, “Fryberger, you won a turkey.”

Dad said, “No, I don’t want a turkey.”

The guy said, “I didn’t say do you want a turkey, I said you won a turkey.”

Dad’s hair stood on end. It turned out that all three turkeys were live ones. He had quite a time getting them home. Lucky we lived in the country.

The funny part about Dad winning all those turkeys was the fact that he couldn’t eat one bite because he was allergic to any kind of fowl or eggs. They made him deathly sick.

We didn’t have a refrigerator or freezer in those days, just an ice box and the root cellar. We didn’t really have any way to keep them alive very long either, so we invited some of the neighbors to Thanksgiving dinner. With money scarce in those days, they agreed to come.

One of the neighbors, Katherine Shewbert, cooked one of the turkeys and Mom cooked the other two. It’s a good thing we had a big house and a big table. We had our family of six, the Shewbert family of four, and some extra teenagers who came to spend the day with my brothers.

When we were eating dinner, Mom asked Dad if he wanted some butter. Dad said, “No! I don’t want any of that old tub butter!”

At this point I must give you the definition of “tub butter.” Grandma Snyder, Mom’s mom, always made her butter from sour cream and we always hated it because it tasted nasty. However, we didn’t have the heart to tell her so, and since we had just been down to visit her the weekend before, she had sent some home. Of course we just threw it away, but Dad didn’t know that.

When Dad said he didn’t want any of that old tub butter, Mom just about choked on her mouthful of food. When she was able to recover she said, “Deemer, Katherine brought the butter.”

Katherine Shewbert was sitting there, not knowing what to say. When Mom explained why Dad had said what he did, we all had a good laugh, including Katherine. Of course Dad ate some and liked it. They all remained good friends as long as they were living.

That was a good Thanksgiving because we could eat all the turkey we wanted, which wasn’t always the case.


Everybody Has a Story welcomes nonfiction contributions, 1,000 words maximum, and relevant photographs. Send to: neighbors@columbian.com or P.O. Box 180, Vancouver WA, 98666. Call “Everybody Has an Editor” Scott Hewitt, 360-735-4525, with questions.

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