Let’s Talk Turkey

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Many local residents of Wilkes County probably do not realize the important connection of Thanksgiving and our historic building. So today it is time to talk some serious turkey history!  Our local newspaper, the Wilkes Journal Patriot, published a newspaper article several years ago about the famous turkey drives in Wilkes County.  I am basing some of my facts and information on that old news article and information from local oral history, that we love to tell to our customers and newcomers to our store. I hope you enjoy the “Turkey Tale” today.

EE Eller Produce Co.  was one of the largest turkey and chicken wholesalers, and a major processing center for local farmers to bring turkeys/chickens into North Wilkesboro. Ironically, it was the first poultry processing plants in our town, well before the days of Holly Farms, & of course later on Tyson. Mr. Eller placed his business, as you may have guessed, yep, in our current building on the corner of 10th Street and D Street in North Wilkesboro.

Farmers would literally herd their turkeys from down the mountains in Ashe, Watauga, & Alleghany Counties in order to process/sell their flock. Could you imagine the sight that it must have been??? All of the sudden the flock of turkeys appeared on the roads in Wilkes!!!! Men guiding them with corn along the way,  flock of turkeys gobbling, wings flying everywhere!!!! I would imagine that the sight of this was pretty common in the early 1900’s in rural Wilkes County. I bet the turkeys never suspected any “fowl play” on their journey.  The  old newspaper article did say that one of the largest turkey drives that ever was processed by Mr. Eller was 1, 500 turkeys in one drive!!!

Once a flock of turkeys arrived at EE Eller Produce, they were processed/ dressed for shipped via train. Our local train station was just down the street from our store location.  The train destinations were mostly in Northern states after leaving the North Wilkesboro station. According to local oral history, it is estimated that Mr. Eller processed at his height of business, 1 million chickens and turkeys!!!! Guess that was all “gravy” for him after that!!!!

So Thanksgiving has a new meaning for us as store owners. We are caretakers of not only our business, but caretakers of local Thanksgiving history. Our town is rich in local history and our building that we reside in today as a hardware store is a great part of that legacy. We are grateful, thankful and blessed. Thank you to all who continue to support our local business, you are giving life to our local history as well.

In closing, Wayne, one of our employees will tell you that every once in while he will see a lone feather coming flying out of the ceiling.  We all joke that it is the chicken ghost or the “poultrygiest”. I have never witnessed this, but he has many more years inside this building.  Ok, enough of the “turkey talk” and time to wish you a Happy Thanksgiving!!!!

 

 

FYI: IF you have not read the post, “The Chicken Ghost” , check it out

Holiday Mishaps

I was driving down the road the other day and the song, “Holiday Road,  began to play. That song brings back the memories and the many laughs of the Clark Griswold movies.  One of our family favorites, has to be National Lampoons Christmas Vacation.  I think that we can all recite lines from this movie, it is a classic. I began to think about all of the misadventures the Griswold family encountered throughout the movie and I giggled in the car as the song was finishing up.

My sequence of thinking then moved onto our own unique holiday mishaps and adventures. I guess we all have them, maybe not to the extreme as the movie played out. I hope that your upcoming holiday season is uneventful and blessed. Enjoy our holiday mishaps and adventures!!!! These are some of my favorite and most memorable….

Thanksgiving: In 2018, we had planned a trip to my parents for Thanksgiving. Everyone was excited about going- including my grandparents… my bags were all packed up and ready to go… as I went to bed that night, I experienced the worst pain I ever had in my entire life! It was a kidney stone:(    To say the least, the trip didn’t happen the next day. I ended up not being able to pass the kidney stone, it was lodged in my right kidney- it had to be surgically removed after the holiday passed.

Holiday turkey leftovers are always a challenge. What do you do with all those leftovers in your refrigerator in order to make them “fresh” again for your family? My mom had asked me to make a turkey casserole with our leftover turkey a few years back. I had whipped it out quickly using the same formula as the chicken casserole that our family loves. I placed the turkey casserole into a Pyrex glass baking dish. Boom, it would be done in time with all of the other leftover veggies, etc. We were all laughing, talking, working away in mom’s kitchen. I pulled the casserole out of the oven and began to let it cool before we ate. All of the sudden, the entire dish popped, glass was flying all over the kitchen. Lucky for all of us, no one was hurt. No turkey casserole for dinner- I think we all ate a ham sandwich.

Christmas:

Richard and I were so excited the first Christmas that we were homeowners. We had a beautiful older home with high ceilings. This would be the year that we were going to a choose and cut Christmas tree farm to purchase our tree. Normally, we just purchased a tree from a local spot in town in years past. The Christmas Tree Farm had simply beautiful trees!!! We selected a tree that believed to be around 10 feet high. Once the tree arrived at our house, the realization had begun to set in… our tree was 12/13 feet tall. How were we going to get it in the house??? We knew it would fit inside our home, but getting it upright and inside???? Richard ended up bracing the top limbs for safety reasons and securing it with fishing line, so it would not tip over.

As a young married couple, we had lights, ornaments, but not nearly enough!!! We hit Kmart hard- yep, we are that old folks… we had a Kmart. I still have some of those ornaments that we purchased almost 25 Christmases ago from Kmart in order to fill up our first gigantic Christmas tree. I smile each year those ornaments come out of the box and think of that first Christmas.  All of our beautiful Christmas cards went on our giant tree that year in order to fill in the gaps. Clark Griswold would have loved it, especially when Richard used the chainsaw to get it out of the house!!!!

Mom always wrapped our presents and sometimes did not put a name on them so that we ( my sister and myself) would not sneak into them before Christmas Day. She knew who was supposed to get which present. Isn’t that such a mom thing to know!!! Well, one year we went to our grandparents house for our yearly Christmas Eve dinner. Mom had the presents all ready for each person that night. When Granny opened up her gift, she opened up a pair of mens pants, those were supposed to be for my dad to open up on Christmas Day. Mom was a bit sheepish about the whole thing of course, but she had two snoopy little girls who loved to have hints of what was to come for Christmas Day.  So, Christmas morning came, Dad opened up Granny’s present and they did a switch around gift…. Later on that day when dad was getting rid of boxes and taking them out to the wood stove,  my sister was searching for one of her gifts, but it was already too late… it was in the stove… of course, it was replaced, but mishaps happen.

Happy Holidays to all!

 

 

 

 

 

Thanksgiving Blessings and Memories…

Most of the leaves are gone off the trees now here in Wilkes. You can still spot a few beautiful trees along your daily path like this lovely one in the photo today. The “season of sticks” is now upon us! Thanksgiving week is coming up next week which brings me to reflect upon the many blessings we have been given. In reflection, I used to hate this time of year after the leaves 🍁 🍁🍁🍁fall because of the barren look of the trees. This year, I’m reframing my vision to call it the “season of sticks”. Who did not love walking in the woods as a kid picking up and finding the best walking stick?

I’m also blessed with many special family and friends who are an essential part of my life. We are truly blessed to be a part of a great community here in Wilkes County and are so happy to be of service to our customers everyday. Thank you for your continued support of our store. Richard & I wish you all a blessed Thanksgiving.

Many great Thanksgiving memories are coming to mind…. Raking leaves 🍁 on Thanksgiving before the big meal, Benjamin’s always used to ask Dad to ride on the golf cart & to go hunt for turkeys before Thanksgiving😂. My Dad always humored him & they rode through the neighborhood, checking the wooded areas carefully for any signs of “native wildlife”. Benjamin is growing up too quickly & that tradition is long gone but the memories are long lasting.

Happy Thanksgiving 🍁 to you & your family from Wilkes County Hardware ! Enjoy making some new Thanksgiving memories this year 😊.

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