By Tommy Rush

When I first moved to Natchitoches from Alabama almost 19 years ago, I met an older couple who became immediate friends. Gerome and Frieda Henson had moved to Natchitoches from Alabama in the 1970’s. I always enjoyed my visits with the Hensons at their home on Lake Sibley.

I remember stopping by one day right before Thanksgiving and Mr. Gerome was preparing to cook a “Trash Can Turkey.” His “Trash Can Turkey” was a Henson Family tradition for many years and he told me how the tradition actually started when he was a small child. He walked me through every step of the process explaining how he used a tin trash can, ten pounds of charcoal and a turkey weighing approximately 10-12 pounds. He liked to call it his “Tin-Ten-Ten Turkey.”

I knew this would be something fun to do with my family, so on my way home I stopped by Kaffie-Fredericks Store to buy my first tin trash can. Since that Thanksgiving in 2004, I have become the Master Trash Can Turkey Cooker! Mr. Gerome would be very proud of me today. My entire family, especially my grandchildren, enjoy this fun family tradition that we have expanded to include not only Thanksgiving, but Christmas as well.

I know you are probably thinking by now that I should win the “Redneck of the Year” Award. Only a redneck from Alabama would be grateful for someone from Alabama teaching them how to cook a turkey in a trash can. It may even seem repulsive to some of you, but I have no doubt that once you try a trash can turkey, you will never eat a deep fried or oven baked turkey again!

Every Thanksgiving I remember the day Gerome Henson shared his trash can tradition with me. I’m very thankful for all the good memories my family has enjoyed over the years cooking our Trash Can Turkeys. I’m grateful for old friends like the Hensons who have since gone home to be with the Lord. I’m also grateful for a Savior and Lord who changed my trash can heart and gave me a new and higher purpose in life. He is the best “Turkey Cooker” of all! Have a great Thanksgiving Weekend!