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One Ingredient You Never Knew Could Go in Turkey Stuffing

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YOU DON’T normally associate Thanksgiving with jewelry, but one Thanksgiving years ago will forever make me think of turkey and watches, specifically a Timex that kept on ticking.

I must have been 7 or 8, and it was a happy time when everyone was still alive — grandparents, aunts, uncles and parents, all gathering the way they can only in our memories now.

My mother’s parents had made the drive over to Dayton from Indianapolis, and everyone was involved in preparation of the dinner. In our house oyster dressing went in one end of the turkey and plain in the other. It was the job of Pop — my granddad — to stuff the turkey that year, and he did so with gusto and laughter in that kitchen that had the avacado green appliances and matching sink, before it was redone.

Memory fails a bit now, but family lore has it that he noticed his watch missing an hour or two later, just about the time the aroma of the baking turkey began to fill the house.

He didn’t think much of it. He and I were caught up in some mischievous grandfather-grandson moment that led to him telling me to get my mother’s checkbook out of her purse and then proceeding to write me a check for one million dollars. Checks and voiding them were a more sacred thing back then, and my mother didn’t see the humor. To this day I’ll never understand why I’m the one who got in trouble for that stunt. Seems like he was the instigator, and it’s not as if I cashed it.

By the time things had quieted down from the million-dollar-check incident and my tears were drying, dinner was ready, and he was noticing more that he really couldn’t find his watch.

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It remained a mystery until dinner was served. Spoon hit something solid, and metal clicked on metal, and metal clinked on china. There, among a serving of oyster dressing, was Pop’s Timex, freshly baked inside the turkey and still ticking.

I’ll never recall who it was who served up that watch. Could it have been Pop himself, and this was another of his million-dollar-check leg pulls? If so, he got his: It took forever to pick that dressing out of his Twist-O-Flex band.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone, and here’s one last-minute INSTORE tip: Take your jewelry off before stuffing the turkey.

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