My first-grade daughter came home with the assignment. Take the black-and-white printed turkey picture and decorate it however you want. Use your imagination. Make it a family project. We had five days to get the project done, including a weekend.
The unadorned turkey hung on the refrigerator all that time but it wasn’t until the night before the deadline that I really focused on it. Uh-oh. This is due tomorrow.
In place of glue, we used tape and rolled it to make it double-sided. We took beans from the cupboard and attached them for dimension.
The glitter stuck intermittently to the tape, but it added something. Our feathers were pink, so our turkey was flamboyant. We stuck on a few cotton balls, colored the rest with crayons, and put it in a plastic bag so everything would stay attached.
A few days later I arrived at school for a gratitude breakfast to kick off the start of the official Thanksgiving weekend break. When I turned the corner I saw them.
Some of them looked like they had been designed by Ralph Lauren. One was painstakingly adorned with what looked like shimmering fish scales. And there was ours.
A real turkey.
Some of the beans and glitter had fallen off in transit, so a lot of the decoration consisted of rolled-up pieces of transparent glue. I desperately wanted the chance to take the turkey back and get a do-over to demonstrate that my daughter and I could do better.
She was oblivious. I was mortified that our improv lifestyle was put on such public display.
If you are not an artsy-craftsy kind of mom, here’s an emergency toolkit to assemble:
- Glue stick.
- Glue gun, if you’re an overachiever.
- Scissors with serrated edges.
- Construction paper.
- Remnant pieces of cloth in varying colors and textures.
To this day, I think of the words “Turkey Project” when putting something off for so long it is in danger of derail.
We may have made a mess of our turkey, but we certainly made a memory.