Last year, we thought it was an aberration. In retrospect, it was a portend of difficult times ahead. After weeks of searching every chain and local grocery store, my husband was unable to find one of the most important Thanksgiving traditions: a slab of butter shaped like a turkey.

It was a devastating loss to our table. My husband felt like he had failed in his holiday duties. And he talked about it. A lot. Daily even. Multiple times a day. The 2-inch-high rounded pat of butter molded like a turkey usually had appeared on shelves right around Halloween. The first year, it was bought on a whim. Then, every year for about a decade, we had the “butter turkey” on our table at Thanksgiving.

This September — election and COVID be damned — our dinnertime conversation frequently landed on the “butter turkey topic,” or BTT, as we will call it. Would he be able to find it this year? Why was it not available last year? Was this a conspiracy? How will it be replaced? Should we buy a flatter knock-off? The BTT conversation never lost steam, sort of like replaying the “As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly” episode of “WKRP in Cincinnati.”

This year, I assured my husband, the AWOL butter ball (get it? Butterball turkey?) was simply a matter of timing. “Give Giant Eagle time,” I assured him. “It’s still early. Not everyone buys things as early as you do.”

Another week went by and mid-November loomed. I was secretly worried. The husband was obsessed. Where. Was. The. Turkey. Butter.

“They are just a little late getting it out,” I told him, before scurrying off to secretly Google turkey-shaped slabs of butter. If Google had a wiggling-eyebrow emoji, it would have been wagging at me. The virtual world just laughed at me with useless links.

By the end of the second week of November, my husband was in full BTT “I am crazed” mode, making daily trips to not only Giant Eagle, but Heinen’s, Costco and any corner market he could find.

No greasy tiny yellow fowl in sight.

Soon after admitting the 2019 buttery Thanksgiving defeat, the hubby went into a second holiday panic: What about the butter-shaped-like-a-Christmas-tree tradition? Alas, it too was gone from shelves.

At one point, Brian asked to talk to the manager of our neighborhood Giant Eagle. Surprisingly (to me, at least), his was not the first inquiry into the AWOL butter turkey. “Apparently, a lot of people are missing them,” Brian, with a furrowed brow, related back to me last year.

This year, with no high expectations for 2020-anything, the search began in early October. On Thursday, just when Brian had given up hope (and even bought a sad substitute), SUCCESS. He brought it home like a conquering hero, waving it in front of my face and beaming with happiness. It will be placed front and center on our holiday table, right next to the real turkey. He found it at the Rocky River Giant Eagle, in the display with all the other holiday ingredients.

This victory has me confident that the horrors of 2020 will soon be over and that 2021 will be awesome.

Now, onto the search for the butter shaped like a Christmas tree. Wish us luck.

Contact this reporter at or 440-871-4797.

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