Destination: Turkey Texas
Date: June 2003
Speaking of family reunions… my side of the family has them, too! However, they revolve around my grandmother’s family, the Lacys, from Turkey, Texas. My grandmother was born and raised in Turkey. If you’ve never heard of this wild Texas town, I can’t say I’m surprised. Back in the early 20th century, Turkey was a busy, bustling cotton-farming town. Have you seen the movie “Places in the Heart” starring Sally Fields? Well if you have, you now have a much better idea of what Turkey, Texas was all about. Cotton farming and a hard life of making ends meet.
My grandmother was raised in a family of thirteen brothers and sisters: ten girls, three boys. My grandmother was one of the middle children and she had a twin sister. My grandmother was the brunette with brown eyes and her twin was the blonde with blue eyes. Having been raised in such a large family on a farm in north Texas, my grandmother knows how to work hard. She has taught me a lot about the value of work and mostly how to be fearless. She is a fearless woman.
I think this is the characteristic I admire most about my grandmother. She taught me that if you don’t know how to do something, then figure it out. Don’t be afraid to try! This is a spirit that permeates throughout my entire family. Work hard and don’t be afraid to try!
Every two years, the Lacy family meets at some location in the US for a weekend of fun and reminiscing. Of course, everyone is getting older and older, and many family members are making their exits to the other side, but we still try to manage getting to these reunions if possible. Going up to Turkey is my favorite reunion destination.
Turkey is a small town of maybe two-hundred people. It is a town that has seen better days for sure! However it still has Hotel Turkey which is a landmark! It’s a quaint little hotel that has good down home hospitality. They even have a horse drawn carriage they weren’t worried about letting us ride when we arrived for this reunion back in 2003.
The reunion itself takes place in the local community center next to the condemned high school. The high school looks like the old high school from Back to the Future. It is a quaint looking old building that I’m sure holds lots of fun stories. I know I know, if only these walls could talk. Since the Lacy family was such a large family, they made a great impact on the town. Just getting together with these folks equals a lot of fun stories.
The day we gather, it usually consists of a huge potluck dinner. We talk, auction off homemade items to raise money for the next reunion, and we buy tickets to win one of the grandmothers’ homemade quilts. One other funny tradition is a raffle for the old fur coat that used to belong to one of the grandmothers. It is in hideous shape and no one really wants to win it. However if you do you must wear it with pride for a picture, and bring it back in two years to have it raffled off again.
The best part about the day is listening to the grandmothers talk. All three of their brothers have passed away and so have many of the ten sisters, but the ones who are still around share fun stories of their childhood. It all sounds like the stuff from a storybook. I enjoy hearing about my grandma and her twin plowing the field with their donkey and each waiting on each side of the field ready to turn the donkey and plow around when it finished its row. I love to hear about the pie or cake walks they had in lieu of dancing because they were not allowed to dance. I love to see how much my grandmother loves her family. If anything, these trips teach me about the importance of keeping in touch with the ones we love. It may not always be easy. We may not see eye to eye, but in the end we were given this family for a reason and that’s worth celebrating.
Safe and happy travels!!