“There’s a turkey in the backyard!” Normally such a statement made around our house would not shake me up very much.
But, made in a whispered scream directly into my ear thirty minutes before the alarm went off one morning, it bothered me just a little bit.
Probably it bothered me more then than it would have later in the day because I had time to think about it before I took any action. The reason I had time to think was because it was easier to think about it than to do something about it.
This has something to do with that old law of some science or other that states it’s the tendency for an object at rest to remain at rest. This is particularly true when the resting object happens to be a mother who was up most of the night with a four-week-old baby with a tummy ache. Jeannie is still a good baby, but like all humans she has her bad moments. That night they had all come at once.
My first thoughts as far as the turkey was concerned were, “That’s impossible!” I knew we didn’t have any turkeys, and I’m very careful about buying chances on livestock so I couldn’t have won one, and no one I knew had any to give away. It couldn’t be a wild one because the last I read about wild turkeys around here was in a book about General Anthony Wayne.
Further thought brought some concern. If people can send chairs anonymously in broad daylight, they could also deliver live turkeys anonymously in the middle of the night. I began to get a little panicky. A live turkey here definitely was not needed at this time.
There was no doubt that it would remain alive either. We still have two fish tanks set up because I wouldn’t let Bill eliminate some stupid guppies and there were too many fish for one tank. If I couldn’t let them pitch those fish, I surely couldn’t order the death of a big bird and then cook and eat it.
When I was a little girl my Dad received a live turkey as a Thanksgiving bonus. There weren’t home food freezers then. My kids don’t believe we even had electricity way back then. Anyway, when you got a live turkey a month before you could use it, you penned it in and fattened it up for the future feast.
Our garage became the turkey pen. The garage provided an ideal haven for young Tom. It was enclosed and comfortably warm, and the children of the neighborhood would bring ears of corn to feed him. He became the neighborhood pet.
But then the thermometer took a dive to zero. My Mother was convinced the bird would freeze. She could see only one solution. Move the bird to the basement. This she did, with my cousin Ed’s help, and over all other masculine objections. That was when the family feast became the family pet.
Whenever anyone entered the basement Tom flew to their side. Anyone included me, my brothers, my Mother, and even my Dad. Tom would accompany them on whatever errand sent them to the basement. But, Tom was meant for Thanksgiving dinner, and so, on Dooms Day, he was dispatched to the poultry house for proper dressing.
We had a terrific dinner that year. It was a real vegetarian feast. Our pet turkey, beautifully roasted, remained untouched in the middle of the table. From Thanksgiving until Christmas my Dad packed turkey sandwiches in his lunchbox. Then he traded them for peanut butter or anything else at lunch time.
The thought of a live turkey spending its life around our house was enough to rouse me to action. That bird had to go immediately. I charged to the window and looked out to the garden where I was assured that, “The turkey is laying there all huddled down, probably asleep.”
The ground was covered with snow—no turkey tracks. There was something huddled in the garden under the snow. I looked closer and finally realized that huddled under the snow were the rusty wheels of the old push lawnmower, which to the hopeful eyes of little kids could pass for beautiful brown turkey feathers.
The children heaved sighs of disappointment and began to prepare for another school day. I heaved a sigh of sheer relief and began to prepare to cope with the joys of another day.
Kathleen Floyd is a volunteer citizen columnist, who serves Daily Advocate readers weekly with her columns, Back Around the House and All Around the House. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Viewpoints expressed in these opinion pieces are the work of the author. The Daily Advocate does not endorse these viewpoints or the independent activities of the author.