Heaps of people have a bone to pick with Thanksgiving. Specifically, with turkey wishbones.

In untold amounts of households, the breaking of the wishbone either is hallowed ritual, a fast track to sibling battling, a corny rite that Uncle Meb insists upon supervising, or a best intention often forgotten in the post-feast coma. And woe to the unsuspecting in-law who tosses the gnarly bone in the trash. That only happened once, I promise.

People have been tearing apart poultry bones for thousands of years. (So, it’s not just Uncle Reggie’s idiosyncratic deal). I remember these high-spirited competitions amongst my ten siblings as a youngster as well.

In my household the ones with the longest arms usually got it, dried it, and picked a naïve younger sibling to battle against. It would all but guarantee a win and a wish. Being the second oldest, I soon learned that if one holds the thumb against the upper part of the wishbone during the break, he will get the opportunity to make a wish. As a littl’un I had a secret list readied if I were to ever win—that rare victory that I held over my older brother meant I’d have to make it count.

Watching the grandkids at the kitchen table with each of their respected pinkies wrapped around opposite sides of the bone brought the memories flooding back.

I have little doubt, still, in its wish granting potential. Even in this moment.

At 83, I can look back. And I realize that most of my wishes have come true… Foremost is the sixty-five successful years of marriage to the same woman. I have good health and there have been a reasonable number of New England Patriots wins.

It was the wishbone, or it was my grip on life—it became stronger as I grew into a man. Either way I’ll make no bones about it. I am indeed the luckiest of them all.

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    1 year ago

    A celebration of the wishbone tradition, that combination of magic and sibling rivalry. Great description of strategy here (take notes!) and a satisfying conclusion for the narrator looking back on life. 

    Last edited 1 year ago by Voice-Team
    Linda Rock
    Linda Rock(@linda-rock)
    1 year ago

    A wonderful trip down Memory Lane, Melissa! It’s Christmas, here in England, when the traditional breaking of the turkey wishbone occurs. And I think it took most of us a while to realise that the thumb needed to be at the top! Those last two paragraphs wrap your story up nicely. Loved it!

    Margarida Brei
    Margarida Brei(@margarida-brei)
    1 year ago

    A truly humorous tale, Melissa. Funny pun on the word “bone” in your last sentence!

    Emily O'Leary
    Emily O'Leary(@emily-oleary)
    1 year ago

    A really heart-warming story Melissa! I also absolutely loved that last paragraph — so cleverly written and also such a lovely message!

    1 year ago

    This is a great story, Melissa. So many clever plays on words, and memories of many wishbone breaking times! I guess breaking the wishbone is a universal pastime. I grew up with it in the United States, and so did you in Canada, evidently. Thanks for reminding us all of an age-old custom!

    Carrie OLeary
    Carrie OLeary(@carrie-oleary)
    1 year ago

    What a beautiful and heartwarming tale, Melissa. One never knows what to expect when reading your titles, but this one was certainly a lovely trip down life’s memory lane. Nicely done 🙂

    Christer Norrlof
    Christer Norrlof(@christer-norrlof)
    1 year ago

    This is a very witty, entertaining and fun story, Melissa! I enjoyed each one of your clever details, especially the sentence about the one in the family with the longest arms who usually got the wishbone.

    Bella Minyo
    Bella Minyo(@bella-minyo)
    1 year ago

    I love the humor in your story, Melissa! It makes it cozy, warm, and light-hearted! Amazing writing and story-telling!

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