I Lost My Turkey

I lost my turkey.

I did. I lost my actual Thanksgiving turkey. This is not a metaphor for losing my shit. Or an allegory or an idiom (don’t feel bad if you have to google these, I did).

Here’s what happened. I left the Madison Women’s Expo where I’d just given a talk on how Time Management is a myth. Apparently it really, really is. I’m an expert I should know.

I drove to the grocery store FIVE count ‘em FIVE days before Thanksgiving. Look at me. So smug and ready for the world. At the grocery, I contemplated turkeys. How big? How butter ball-ey? Did they run and play in life?  How grateful were they? You know the drill.

I chose a turkey. He was so glad. We talked about it.

[Tweet “I chose a turkey. He was so glad. We talked about it.”]

Off I went. I considered doing some Christmas shopping but said to myself, I said, “No Ann. Don’t push it. Do a few kegels and call it a day.”

That night I preened. I’d given a talk about how to use time wisely. I’d foraged for food for my family. I’d even showered and changed my underwear. It. Had. Been. A. Good. Day.

Fast forward.

The day to cook the turkey came. I shuffled downstairs to start honoring those that came over on the Mayflower. I opened the refrigerator. Hmmmm no turkey. Not even behind the 4 partially filled egg cartons and last year’s cranberries. Weird.

Not to worry.

Still, two freezers to check.


Back to the fridge. Yes to sprouted potato’s, expired Mayo, seven kinds of mustard and four half-filled wine bottles. Yes to sticky shelves and something completely unidentifiable.

Score: Grubby Fridge: 10, Turkey 0

Next up. I checked the trunk of my car, the back seat, my closet (don’t judge me you know you put things in weird places too).

Not one to dwell on the heartbreaking loss of material items I put a coat over my pajamas and went to the store and bought another turkey.

Later, after too much pie, I took a moment to ponder my lost turkey. I think it’s important to reflect. Here are my thoughts. I either chose the turkey and it never made it to my cart or I purchased the turkey but left it in the store. Or, more likely, I bought the turkey, put it in my car, got it into the house but it was a magic turkey and it disapparated and has apparated in an open field of turkeys and is living out its days trying to fit in even though it’s giblets are in a bundle.

In any case, I thought you should know that time management is a myth. If you have too much going on you will lose your turkey

[Tweet “In any case, I thought you should know that time management is a myth. If you have too much going on you will lose your turkey.”]

XO Ann

Ann Garvin, Mother, professor, and USA Today Bestselling author of I Like You Just Fine When You’re Not Around. Founder of The Tall Poppy Writers and The Fifth Semester. Ann believes someone has to lift up and make fun of women so it might as well be her.


  1. Kathleen Bylsma on December 1, 2016 at 2:25 am

    I’ve lost a lot of things but never a turkey! I think a round of applause is in order. 😉

  2. Nancy Floeter on December 1, 2016 at 2:25 am

    It’s a bafflement for sure! Your story reminds me of when I lost all our chocolate Easter bunnies from Gail Ambrosias a couple years ago. 6 little bunnies lovingly hand made and ready to hop into 6 Easter baskets never made it through our front door. Like you, I searched everywhere, even the garbage. It was a sad loss and continues to be an unsolved mystery. Nobody got a bunny in our house that year. 🙁

  3. Michelle Ferrari-Johnson on December 1, 2016 at 3:57 am

    I’ve never lost something so big. It must be taking lessons from Houdini! Thank you for the chuckle

  4. Betsy Marro on December 1, 2016 at 4:08 am

    I like to think that someone who needed it swiped it when you weren’t looking. Thanks for the laugh!

  5. Cindy Forister on December 1, 2016 at 4:11 am

    Lol, after the kind of day I had where I thought I was losing my mind, this just made my day!!! Thank you for being you!!!

  6. denise on December 1, 2016 at 4:21 am

    my turkey was stolen at the grocery store a few years ago. long story, but the store replaced it.

    I’m glad it all worked out in the end for you! Happy December!

  7. Thomas Fendrick on December 1, 2016 at 4:21 am

    Mystery solved! South bound Highway 51 November 19. A vehicle “traveling well above the speed limit” was to blame for a three car pile-up. It seems a woman driving the car appearing to to be suffering from stomach cramps was oblivious to the fact that a precariously placed frozen turkey had just “flown” from the roof of her car through the windshield of a North bound car. The driver, shocked when the bird came to rest in his passenger seat exclaimed “Thank God it’s not another deer!” The “distraction” caused the driver cross the centerline triggering the three car pile-up.

    I must say thank you for the bird and your wonderful story. With the exception of a few glass shards the turkey was delicious. As to the accident you’ll be hearing from my attorney. I thought you had stomach cramps when it was Kegels all along;)

  8. Enid Grayer on December 1, 2016 at 4:58 am

    my oldest son, who owns his own home, went to the store a few days before Thanksgiving this year. As the clerk was ringing his order up, she told him he had purchased enough food to qualify for the free ten-pound turkey, so he left his cart in the checkout line, and went to the back of the store to find a turkey. Alas, there were no ten-pound turkeys left, so my son selected a twenty-three pound bird!!! My other son’s wife will cook this baby, and we will have it for Chanukah on the 24th and Christmas on the 25th. And there will probably be enough to serve for New Year’s Eve, too!

  9. Donalee Kennedy on December 1, 2016 at 5:58 am

    This is a great story, and I love that you had just given a lecture on time management. Proves you are so human, lucky you.

  10. Laura Drake on December 1, 2016 at 11:13 am

    You crack me up. Can I give you a cat I’ve decided I’d like to lose, since I put up the tree?

  11. Penny on December 1, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    I think your turkey “done gone up and went.” Yup, it’s a miracle turkey, who also happens to like to mess with your head. Ha ha.

  12. Susan Chabot on December 1, 2016 at 3:38 pm

    I love you, Ann Wertz Garvin!! I love your writing…..I love your honesty…..I love your wit!! YOU are a gem!!! Love and miss you!!!!:)

  13. pat obermeier on December 1, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    My daughter and I pulled into the Wegman’s (giant food store) parking lot and parked next to the cart return. It was the day before Thanksgiving. Lots of shoppers, so I thought we should take a cart into the store with us in case there were none inside. Turned to the carts and….there was a turkey in the bottom of one of the carts. We took it back to the store…and turned it in. It was a fresh turkey so it probably cost at least $25. We hoped the person got home, realized they didn’t have their bird – the day before Thanksgiving-and went back to the store. Maybe that’s what happened to you. Happy holidays Ann.

  14. Kate Bast on December 1, 2016 at 6:40 pm

    I think my sanity has run off with your turkey. And they took a good bottle of Thanksgiving wine with them.

  15. Patty on December 2, 2016 at 12:23 am

    I apparently need to do a few kegels myself…I just peed. You are too funny, and I appreciate that!

  16. Mary McCauley on December 3, 2016 at 1:58 am

    My husband got his Christmas present for Valentines… But my turkey made it to the table! thanks for sharing. It is so awesome.

  17. Dana Warren on December 3, 2016 at 5:55 am

    Great story Ann! Caused me to truly ‘laugh outloud’ and that is something I needed right now. So thanks for sharing.

  18. […] losing my Thanksgiving Turkey my friend of thirty-five years called and said, “I have a story to tell you that will make you […]

  19. Susan Peterson on November 25, 2017 at 2:06 am

    Oh my gosh! I have lost so many things…sometimes they show up months later…but I hope you don’t find your turkey months from now….

  20. Susan Gromis on November 25, 2017 at 2:49 am

    Ann, this made my day!! I guess it shall remain a mystery, but like you, I choose to believe it has crossed the “rainbow bridge” and is gallivanting (if turkeys do that sort of thing) with its buddies…

  21. Eileen on November 25, 2017 at 11:15 am

    LOL. That is too funny. Never again will I feel bad for losing keys or an umbrella. Maybe the the turkey was a metaphor for an overstuffed brain.

  22. Lynda Gordon on August 3, 2018 at 11:56 am

    Oh my gosh….this is so relatable! I can’t think of what I always lose, besides my phone; but I once made out the check for my mortgage for e check #, instead of the amount I was SO confused when I got the notice that I hadn’t paid the mortgage. I had it written in the register; and the amount subtracted. It was hours of going through bills and canceled checks before I figured out what I’d done

    • Ann Garvin on October 18, 2018 at 1:12 pm

      It’s a busy, wonderful life right? That’s why we do these things.
      We have more important things on our mind.

  23. Linda Moore on January 10, 2023 at 2:12 pm

    That is so funny. I’m sorry but it just is. I’ve never lost a whole turkey but have lost a chicken. It was actually a pack of chicken breasts but still.. I feel for ya. I’m glad you was able to get another one.

    • Ann Garvin on January 10, 2023 at 7:14 pm

      We still don’t know where that Turkey is. hahaha

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