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Cuz everyone needs a turkey

April 12, 2012

Studies suggest that owning and loving a pet can lower blood pressure. I would agree that most could, but the doctors studying pets were probably not talking about some of the pets that lived with my family. If they had hung around our house when we were growing up, I would bet the results of their pet studies would have produced opposite results.

We didn’t have guinea pigs, hamsters, rabbits, cats or rats. We did have jars and jars of insects, innumerable pollywogs, toads and frogs, dozens of salamanders, a couple of mice, many turtles, lots of fish, a bunch of crayfish, five dogs (one at a time), a raccoon, and one turkey.

Though most of the menagerie could be attributed to me at one time or another, I was not responsible for the turkey. I didn’t do that, I swear. Chuckie did, and I am not sure where he got the danged thing. Like most baby animals, even a turkey can be cute. Chuckie kept him (it?) in the garage and lovingly named him Turkey. Originality was never something of which we could accuse Chuckie, and the name stuck.

Oddly, Turkey seemed to know where he belonged and stayed in the yard. Perhaps his reason was that the yard was where he was likely to find things he liked such as any food Chuckie gave to him, and Turkey’s all-time favorite treat: the legs of passersby. A person didn’t even need to pass closely to Turkey for him to share his passion for leg biting; he was a full service pest and would come right to you.

I used to daydream about roasting that beast and serving him to Chuckie for dinner, but it was clear that Turkey was a wiry old bird (kind of like Chuckie), and would be tough and stringy, unsuitable for fine dining. And I probably wasn’t that mean.

There is no way to know how many people Turkey bit before Grandma Beanie had had enough. She took the turkey out to Camp Millhouse to let it go. It was the center of attention for a short time, while it occupied the center area beneath the parachute the campers raised up and down to watch the billowing of its silken folds. Turkey didn’t like that attention and took off for the woods. I don’t know where it went from there (I was working at Camp Millhouse that summer), but I was glad it didn’t bite any campers and that I didn’t have to face the little monster when I returned home.

I highly recommend keeping turkey on your plate and out of your garage and yard. Never did a meaner animal exist, I would lay odds.

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