The rules are different in Florida. Cocktail hour comes a little earlier. Chunky alligators laze about unbothered on lush putting greens. Personally, I once visited a Tampa seafood shanty that required guests to click through an old-school viewfinder to read the menu. Yes, Floridians know how to have a good time—especially during the holidays. Take the O’Donnell family, a Clearwater clan who made headlines after showcasing their unique Thanksgiving turkey defrosting method: tossing the bird into the pool.
“That’s how you do it when you live in Florida,” patriarch Mark O’Donnell told WFTS Florida. According to O’Donnell, the poolside poultry plop is a tradition 18 years in the making. It all started nearly two decades ago when the family forgot to thaw their Thanksgiving turkey; now, the family members share the distinct honor of tossing the turkey into the pool, trading off each year. O’Donnell says the turkey thaws in a matter of hours in the warm, chlorinated waters. And yes, the pool is chlorinated—but he isn’t particularly worried about consuming chemically compromised turkey. “We’ve never had a leakage yet,” O’Donnell told WFTS, citing the store-bought birds’ tightly sealed packaging.
Why did the family choose this year to share their grand tradition on social media? “I think this year because it’s 2020 people were looking for some light-hearted fun,” O’Donnell told WFTS. “‘Hey, look at this, these crazy people.’ We’re crazy about Florida.” As am I, Mark. As am I.