When we were young there were numerous times when we received a "Good job!" an "Atta boy!" a "Way to Go!" Kids are often heroes.
However, those opportunities for glory grow fewer and fewer. The chances to excel come all too rare. As adults, we have a job where we are expected to make the grade and when we surpass it, it may (or may not) be noticed by the highers.
But then there is Thanksgiving.
If the wife/mother/woman-of-the-house cooks the turkey, go ahead and stop reading this (probably sexist) drivel now.
Very few times during our family year do so many count on the successful completion of a task. The turkey must be good! Not overdone, not undercooked. Crispy skin. Don't burn it. Beautiful. White meat moist. Not dry. Get the dark meat right. Even the meat near the bone needs to be done. And then if it's perfect, carve it right. Do not mangle it!
The turkey is Dad's -- the old guy's -- chance to score the winning touchdown. Yes, the Dallas Cowboys may be 4th and goal on the Detroit Lions' goal line, but that is secondary to Dad pushing that 18 pound Butterball into the end zone.
The skin gleams like an Oscar for the Best Provider for His Family. It's the gold medal around Dad's neck, the top spot on the cooking dais. Like some ancient Olympian in the oven arts, master of the game fowl, a Dad who can produce a great turkey receives the adoration of all at the table and he knows that means the whole world. At least as long as dinner (and a few mentions while we're doing the dishes) you are the pinnacle of Dad-dom. On the other hand, a mediocre turkey means another year slaving away at the thankless task of being the oldest producer of testosterone in the room. A year of second guessing what could have been… what could have roasted.