3 Touching Thanksgiving Stories from President Monson to Share With Your Family

2. "What Does Turkey Taste Like?" 

The following story is from To The Rescue: The Biography of President Thomas S. Monson written by Heidi S. SwintonBackground for the story: Gladys and Spence are President Monson's  parents. Other names are those of his aunts and uncles. 

The family always gathered for Thanksgiving dinner. Gladys put the turkey in the “big oven” over at Annie’s, and the sisters took turns checking its progress. Spence had charge of setting the table after he got home from four hours at the print shop and before he and the boys went to the annual University of Utah versus Utah State football game, which started at noon. Rusty, Spence, Rich, Jack, Tom, and Bob scrambled to get there for the kickoff. The Monsons were Ute fans, and in 1940 they cheered Marge’s new boyfriend, Conway Dearden, on the football team and then watched as she marched on the field with the “Spurs” club at halftime.

One year, the home was buzzing with Thanksgiving preparations when Charlie Renshaw, a friend from over the back fence, stood outside, as was the custom of these young friends, and hollered, “Tom-my!”

When Tommy answered the summons, Charlie said, “It sure smells good in there. What are you eating?”

Tommy told him it was turkey, and Charlie asked what turkey tasted like.

Tom responded, “Oh, about like chicken,” to which Charlie asked, “What does chicken taste like?”

Tom ran into the kitchen, snatched a piece of breast meat, and handed it to his friend. “That’s good!” the boy said.

When Tom asked what Charlie’s family was having for dinner, the answer was, “I dunno. There’s nothing in the house.”

Tom pondered. He knew his mother always found something to feed those who came to the door. He had no extra turkeys, chickens, or money. But he did have two pet rabbits, a male and female, the pride of his life, beautiful New Zealand whites. He motioned to his friend and headed for the specially constructed rabbit hutch built by one of his uncles. He reached in and grabbed his two pet rabbits, put them in a gunnysack, and handed the bag to Charlie.

“Rabbit meat tastes better than chicken,” Tom said. “Their hide makes really good knuckle pads when you are playing marbles. You know, you can sell the hides for a quarter each over at the hide company. These two rabbits will give your family a good dinner.”

Charlie was on the fence—the boys used the fences like sidewalks in his neighborhood—and heading for his yard before Tom could close the door to his empty rabbit hutch. He realized he had given all he had. He had met someone else’s need and did not regret it. The pattern was in place: “I was an hungred, and ye gave me meat. . . . Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”

His life has continued to be a tangible expression of the Lord’s words.

To the Rescue

Read more stories from our prophet's life in To the Rescue: The Biography of Thomas S. Monson

To the Rescue chronicles the life and ministry of this extraordinary leader. It is filled with the heartwarming personal accounts so typical of President Monson — some that have become favorites over time and many others that have not been told before. Readers will be transported to his childhood, where he learned his first lessons about reaching out to others. They will glimpse his school experiences, his hobbies (especially his prize Birmingham roller pigeons), his military service in the navy, and his courtship with Frances Johnson, who would become his eternal companion and greatest support.

“I testify that each one of us can feel the Lord's inspiration as we live worthily and strive to serve Him,” President Monson has taught. To the Rescue demonstrates the truth of that teaching, illustrating its power in the life of one remarkable man.

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