The Edmond Sun

November 19, 2012

Grace Living Center resident really talks turkey

79-year-old says living on a turkey farm was no piece of cake


Special to The Sun

EDMOND — How do you give a turkey a bath?

Very carefully, says 79-year-old Betty Butler, a resident of Grace Living Center Edmond.

Butler said her experience with turkeys goes well beyond preparing the big birds for the Thanksgiving feast. She grew up on a farm in Carter County, where her family raised several hundred turkeys each year.

“We got them from a hatchery in Pauls Valley and raised them in the house until they were able to go outside,” Butler said. “My mother sold them at a farmer’s market in Ardmore for 10 cents a pound. It was a lot of work, but I always cried when they were sold.”

Still, saying goodbye to the feathered fowl had a silver lining.

“That was our Thanksgiving money, our Christmas money and our money for clothes,” she said. “We knew we’d get a new pair of shoes and a new dress.”

Bathing the birds wasn’t a regular chore, she said, but a necessity when the birds would wander into a nearby asphalt pit and get stranded.

“We’d have dig them out and then wash them in salt and water,” she said.

While the family also ate turkey on Thanksgiving, it wasn’t Butler’s favorite dish that day. Her grandmother made a legendary homemade coconut cake, which Butler also learned to create for her children.

“That coconut cake is the best thing you’ll ever have,” she said.

Butler, fellow residents and their families will share a special Thanksgiving meal together on Tuesday at Grace Living Center, 2420 S. Rankin in Edmond.