Hey You Turkeys!


Halloween has passed, and we are into that speedbump of a buffet before Christmas that we call Thanksgiving. Now, I love Thanksgiving, mainly because it's a speedbump before Christmas. I remember seeing a commercial for Christmas stuff in September once when I was a teen. I just couldn't stand the idea of Christmas starting not only before Halloween, but before my birthday! Now I think we start sometime in July, right?

But I digress. Thanksgiving. A time for family. We sit and eat together, love, share. Argue. Pass out watching football. I always ask for peace during Thanksgiving, but if I can't get that, if we do argue, let me be the winner.

Okay, okay, let me get to the stories! My father used to tell this great story every Thanksgiving. The Smart Turkey. (It really helps to tell this, orally, to act it out, as James Thurber once said.) See, turkeys are by nature not the smartest animals. It is legend that a turkey if left out in the rain will look up at who is tapping him on the head and then drown. Turkeys don't know they are being fattened to be eaten. They think they are going to be pets. So when someone comes to the turkey farm, they all run to the fence, fluff themselves up to look fat and pretty, gobble loudly to show off, everything they can do to make them look more appealing as a pet to go home. But then there's the Smart Turkey. This one knows it's going to be eaten, so it doesn't eat too much, stays a little thin. While the others run to the fence to be picked, this one takes its time, kinda limps up behind the others. Then, while the others gobble and cluck and generally show off, when this one catches the eye of these prospective buyers, it stands one one leg and lets out a soft, dry cough, *cough cough*. The Smart Turkey survives another Thanksgiving.

Not really a turkey story, or a Thanksgiving tale, but it's the only other one I know for this time. My grandmother was a plane spotter during World War II. She had these playing cards with silhouettes of planes used to train people to identify them. There was little concern of enemy planes over Northampton County during the war, but you never knew. Norfolk wasn't too far away, so they had spotters, just in case.

So, not my grandmother, but someone else was out at the time. She just knew the events from being there. So this guy was out monitoring the skies, keeping an eye out for any Nazi invasion of Ahoskie, when he spotted some planes. He had a hard time identifying them, but he knew to call in anything he saw. So he called Norfolk and reported it. A few minutes later, he looked again, more closely, and saw that they were not planes, but actually turkey vultures, flying in the thermals over the peanut farms. He called Norfolk back and said that he was mistaken, they were just vultures. Norfolk replied that they were thankful he called back, as there was not supposed to be any plane there at the time, and they had just scrambled fighter planes to come shoot the vultures down.

By the way, my favorite food for Thanksgiving? Green bean casserole.

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