Jennifer Billstrom | Staff Writer

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Image courtesy of

Thanksgiving: A day to give thanks for all of life’s blessings, a day to spend time with ones we hold dear, and whether a sports fanatic or out of tradition, a day to watch a bunch of sweaty, middle-aged men play catch with a ball made out of pigskin; but for The Century Times’ Editor-In-Chief Matt Hoemke, it’s a day about one thing and one thing only: turkey.

Quite possibly one of the most edible of birds, Hoemke has had an extreme fondness for turkey since he was a baby. His family told this reporter that they believe his obsession originated while he was still in the womb. His mother always craved turkey while she was pregnant with him, so turkey was pretty much all she would eat. It never occurred to anyone that her cravings could pass down to her unborn child; that is, until six months after he was born when they tried to move him from the bottle to solid foods.

Weaning Hoemke to solid foods proved challenging, as mashed turkey was the only thing that appeared to sate his appetite. His mother reminisced, “We started feeding my little Matthew solid foods when he was six months old, and he absolutely refused to eat anything but mashed turkey. A few weeks later we tried to trick him into eating mashed peas by putting them into one of the many empty turkey jars lying around, but he just knew better.”

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When suggested that Hoemke may have just not liked peas, his mom shook her head and added, “No, he just wanted his turkey. In fact, that was the day my Matty spoke his first words. It was so adorable; he slammed his little fist on his highchair and demanded, ‘Noooo! Want turkey!’”

These incidents were just the first glimpse of what would become Hoemke’s lifelong obsession for the bird.

As Hoemke grew like a pumpkin in a patch, so did his obsession for turkey.  In his junior year of high school he ran for class president with the campaign slogan, “It’s ‘fowl’ that our school doesn’t serve more turkey. ‘Stuff’ the ballots for me, Matt Hoemke!” When interviewed, his former high school principal Penelope Pilgrim said, “A few weeks before Matt announced he was running for president, he planned a protest demanding the cafeteria always have a turkey dinner option. Only, no one showed up to the event but him. To this day I’m convinced the only reason he ran for president was to try and push his crazy turkey addiction onto the rest of the students of our beloved school.”

Unfortunately for Hoemke, his opponent Candy Yams, whose campaign promise included extended school breaks, won by a landslide. Hoemke’s dreams of delicious turkey dinners being distributed daily were destroyed, “I was baffled! I mean, who needs longer breaks when there’s an offer of tasty turkey dinners on the table?”

Image created by Melissa Higgins
Image created by Melissa Higgins

Though the reasons for Yams’ triumphant victory may seem obvious, Hoemke, while shaking his head incredulously, offered his opinion, “I would have happily gone to school 365 days a year if turkey dinners were guaranteed every day. I still don’t get it. How did no one else agree with me on this?”

His stomach felt the brunt of the loss, as Hoemke was then forced to continue eating the mediocre meals already on the menu. He may have lost the election, but his love for turkey remained intact.

Hoemke, who is now a 27-year-old college student, still dedicates his days to the delectable turkey. When asked how his fellow staff members felt about his devotion to eating turkey, The Century Times’ Art Director Dena Urbano had this to say, “Every day is like a scavenger hunt in our office. It’s not that we [the staff] are actively looking for his turkey leftovers or anything, but they just pop up all over the place. We open the cabinet to grab a pen and what do we find? A half-eaten turkey leg. We go to a computer and what do we find?  A turkey bone on top of the keyboard. We open the fridge and what do we find? Matt’s emergency stash: two turkey sandwiches that he keeps on hand as a sort of security blanket in case the cafeteria isn’t serving turkey that day. He’s taking over our office with turkey! He’s like an addict hoarding his turkey stash all over the place.”

So with Thanksgiving shortly approaching like the Millennium Falcon reaching the end of the Kessel Run, we’re thinking about the time we’re going to spend with family, but for Hoemke, he’s thinking about the time he’s going to spend with his turkey. Over the sound of his rumbling belly Hoemke concluded, “While everyone else is sitting around the table giving thanks for all the wonderful things in life, I’m just sitting there asking myself, ‘Where’s the turkey?’”

Where’s the turkey indeed.