How to Transport a Thanksgiving Turkey

Start by buying a bigger bird than you think you need. It will be frozen solid so don’t wait until the last minute like last year. On Thanksgiving Day, get up at 4:00 a.m. In a dark house with a single kitchen light burning, make stuffing by tearing two loaves of Wonder Bread into little pieces. Add onions and a lot of sage. 

Wash the bird and study the skin for pinfeathers. Pull them out with a paring knife until you can run your hands over the bird’s skin and not feel a single feather. Pack the turkey with stuffing and put it in the oven. Turn off the kitchen light and go back to bed. At 9:00 a.m., when everyone is awake and dressed for Thanksgiving, take the midnight blue roasting pan with the nearly done turkey out of the oven and set it on top of the stove. Put the lid on the roasting pan. Wrap the lidded roasting pan in a dozen layers of the Detroit Free Press and tie with twine. Call one of your children to put their finger on the knots so they are tied nice and tight. Place the wrapped roasting pan on more layers of newspaper in the trunk of the car.

Ride three hours in the blue and white Chevrolet your husband is driving. Listen to your kids in the backseat counting telephone poles and reading Burma-Shave signs. Worry a little that you didn’t buy a big enough bird. Doze off with the smell of roasted turkey heating the car and wake up in your mother’s driveway. See that your brothers are already there and know they are having cocktails and joking in the kitchen. Put the turkey in your mother’s oven and then look for the yellow baster you left in the drawer last year.

The author's Mom and Grandma after dinner.

The author's Mom and Grandma after dinner.

- Jan Wilberg grew up traveling two-lane roads in Michigan and would still rather be in a car than anywhere. She is a daily blogger at Red's Wrap and has had essays published in Newsweek, the New York Times Modern Love, and three anthologies. She was a 2015 BlogHer Voice of the Year, selected for an essay called "Blindsided" about coping with severe hearing loss. Now a cochlear implant recipient, she is reacquainting herself with the hearing world but still likes the printed page better.

How to Shop for a Car

Never buy a new car.

Never buy a car from a dealer.

Buy directly from another owner, and have your own mechanic check it out.

Try to buy for cash, or put at least half down. A car loan is the worst loan to have.

To find your car, comb the paper all week for several weeks.

Don’t rush. 

Seek patterns. 

The people who took out an ad every single day of the week bought the package deal the newspaper offered, and so they know good value. 

They do not cut corners. 

They are pound wise instead of penny wise. 

They probably cared for their car, and probably know how to negotiate.

Never enter into agreements with anyone who does not value what they offer.

Do not begin with a dream in mind. 

Read first, see what’s out there, see which cars have the lowest mileage for the best price, consult the Blue Book, consult Kelly’s. 

Let the dream car find you.

Lisa's dad, J.J. Wormser in 1970, while he was an engineer at Continental Electronics. If this thing had tires, he'd kick them.

Lisa's dad, J.J. Wormser in 1970, while he was an engineer at Continental Electronics. If this thing had tires, he'd kick them.

Low mileage and a clean accident record are the two most important things, followed closely by ownership. Single ownership is best, two at most. Three? Walk away. But stay detached. Don’t lock in on anything. Be ready for the surprising right one.

Look for rust. Don’t buy a car that has rust.

Check the tires. If necessary, ask for a couple hundred dollars off if the tires look anything but wonderful.

When you find the one for you, don’t go in with half measures. 

Make an offer, make it fair, be ready to be rejected. 

If you get the car of your dreams, be proud. Drive safe.

I will do this first one with you. Hand you the keys. Tell you to be proud. Tell you to drive safe.

Someday you will share these lessons with your child.

- Lisa Schamess