The dead edibles who gave their lives for their country were definitely appreciated.

West Park Hospital cooked up 45 turkeys for community consumption last Thursday as the centerpiece of the annual Thanksgiving feast.

The serving line for turkey, mashed potatoes, dressing, rolls, green bean casserole, cranberry sauce and some other healthy green vegetable, moved into action earlier than the announced starting time because hungry people began filling the Buffalo Bistro lobby.

“We make enough for 300,” hospital marketing director Ashley Trudo said.

Come one, come all, from those who could not otherwise afford a special meal, to those who didn’t want to cook, to those who had no one else to eat with, or even those who chose to mingle their great big family to celebrate with the rest of Cody. Trudo said the hospital needs a minimum of 23 volunteers to make the half-day extravaganza work, but it is no difficulty recruiting and she had 40 at her disposal.

The program included some live music and Billy Browning was in his cowboy finery, black hat, white shirt and string tie. He played a few tunes and adjourned to eat before returning to the microphone.

Browning, 61, (dark meat) and friend Chuck Stapleton, 68, (white meat) took note of the 45 turkeys who made the ultimate sacrifice.

“You can’t all be pardoned,” Stapleton said.

President Trump, in presidential tradition, did recently save the lives of turkeys named Bread and Butter. Maybe the hospital’s turkeys did not have such catchy names. Tom 1, Tom 2, Tom 3, Stapleton suggested.

One family, 13 people representing four generations, gathered at a long table for a holiday meal.

Linda Rednour said she and her children and other members of the family volunteered as servers many times over the years.

The family’s favorite story – retold each Thanksgiving – revolves around her son Robert.

Robert was five or six years old and was going table-to-table filling water glasses. He came upon one elderly gentleman and as Robert was about to pour water, he noticed the glass was occupied with the man’s false teeth.

Scrambling in surprise, Robert said, “Do you only want to eat mashed potatoes?”

Robert is 34 now and said he would remember none of that if not annual reminders from his family.

If not singing for his supper, Browning would have been home cooking, or at his sister’s home in Billings, across the state line, he said. Instead, he was more Johnny Cash for the day, not so much Arlo Guthrie, who famously sang probably the world’s longest Thanksgiving song at 18 minutes, 34 seconds, long.

As Browning adjourned for his second turn at the microphone, after giving thanks to those 45 turkeys, Stapleton directed the old pre-going-on-stage show business phrase “Break a leg” at him. Although if Browning was going to do so for real, at least he was in the right place for immediate medical treatment.

The crooner’s second round of tunes included “Ring of Fire,” yes, by Johnny Cash and “Margaritaville” by Jimmy Buffet.

Browning’s Thanksgiving show took him – and everyone in attendance – from buffet to Buffet.

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