Thanksgiving: A time for indulgence. For many families, a traditional spread including turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and yes, of course, homemade pumpkin pie.
The tables at the homes of many would be picked clean by Thanksgiving, eaten, forgotten, and then to be resupplied again by Monday afternoon.
But some families have also extended their holiday by cooking a meal for members of their family who, again, likely don’t have any other plans this weekend.
Debbie Grossman owns Coleman Family Farms, one of the most prolific deer hunters in North Carolina. She has harvested hundreds of deer since the fall.
“When you hunt, you never realize how people can feed a family,” says Grossman. “The guests come, they feed the deer, then they go home.”
Her efforts are helping families like Mike Black, a father of three who used to travel long distances each Thanksgiving with his family just to eat. Now he and his family are back home.
“I’ve never been more thankful for Thanksgiving than I am right now,” says Black. “Our family’s home for the holidays again for Thanksgiving. That’s pretty special.”
Mike Black was a passenger in a car when he saw a deer running on the side of the road.
This “platoon” of deer was actually an orphaned barn full of cows that were moved to make room for deer across the road.
The bodies of hundreds of cows were dumped in the barn, but there was a problem: they weren’t dead. The weather was too windy, and the heavy snow that was falling made it impossible to tow them off the road. Eventually, a man helped a woman move the carcasses to a warehouse, and then to some private land where they could be stored.
But one of the bodies was still with the car, so they put it in the car and drove. They went along I-40 to a gas station on the Mississippi border, and pulled over and carried the carcass up the highway.
Mike Black headed back with the carcass, returning with two empty cases. He brought the carcass with him for supper.
The next morning, a dentist who lives in the shadow of the infected cow had agreed to have the carcass disassembled and sent to a lab in New York.
Grossman came by with a case of milk and breakfast cereal to eat with her deer. Black found his brother, who was shooting ducks during the early morning shoot, and asked for his help. The three would return to their hunting ground together, at least one of them with a mess kit containing the animal’s innards.
The following week, Black took the car down to South Carolina to deliver the carcass to the lab to be fed to an exotic crocodile.
As of Thursday afternoon, the lab had agreed to provide these foods for the victims in Iowa. That will be welcome news for the turkey soup soup smothered with barbeque sauce, the mashed potatoes and cranberry sauce, and the warm pumpkin pie.