A Turkey’s Life is Full of Peril
As you probably already know, you can be the most beautiful or the smartest or the most gifted of turkeys, and you’re still going to get eaten.
My fellow turkeys don’t seem to mind; after all, they say—we all wind up in Turkey Heaven and that’s not so bad.
Lots of the old-timers who darned near died from that ornery new cowdog chewing on them or from a certain brat, I won’t mention any names, who lives here on Hollyberry Farm and loves to throw rocks and rusty cans at us…anyway, those fellas come back from their near-passed-away experiences just gobbling with stories.
They say up there has majestic blue mountains with crystal waterfalls and silver feeders bulging with corn, oats, wheat, spelt, barley, and golden glow worms sitting there on the sides of the water troughs, smiling as they bend their little heads to wait for you to slurp them up.
Shoot, some of those old coots said they saw angels passing out emmer up there in that pearlized turkey paradise. If you don’t know what emmer is, you’re probably not a turkey. It’s Eurasian wheat first cultivated by the Babylonians, and it’s the tastiest thing this side of the cracked corn from Old Man Burnie’s Feed Store up there in Dango. Dango’s about 20 miles from the farm, but I guess that’s not important to my story.
My turkey lurkey friends wouldn’t know about emmer, or anything else, if I wasn’t so nice hearted and prone to share what I read in the newspapers I scrounge in the farm dump.
Fact is, I’m just not like the other turkeys. Not one bit. Smarter, I am, and lots more handsome. When I noticed the leaves turning that orangey brown yellow like they do when people get to eyeing us with that strange glint in their eyes, I decided right then I had to take action.
Mean Gene and me.
Here’s what I did first. I started hanging out with Mean Gene, the head rooster here at Hollyberry. I was dogging him one morning trying to turn my melodious gobble into a crow when my dang ol snood wrapped around my beak and guess what? I almost suffocated! Yep. Right there in the barnyard. I fell over gasping. Fred the duck waddled up quacking, “Your wattle is blue! Your wattle is blue!”
Can you imagine my mortification?
Everyone gathered around and made more fuss than if a rocket had landed right in the hay stack. Old Hurricane, the speckled guinea fowl and my best friend, is the one who saved me. She streaked right over and grabbed that snood with her beak. She ran underneath my head and flew over my neck, then back under my beak two or three more times until that thing came unwound and I could go about my business, which is what I did with no wasted time.
I sat in the shade of the tractor a long time until my wattle cooled down and I didn’t feel so ruffled. The whole rafter of barnyard turkeys was discussing me that day, that was plain.
Me as a Chicken. Pretty wonderful, isn’t it?
Next thing you know, I had Hurricane bite off the end of my snood and asked the lady turks to help me dye all my feathers a lovely russet brown. Now if that didn’t look like a chicken, what would? I hung out with those cackling biddies for oh, probably a week. My plan seemed to work fine until I overheard the farm missus telling the hired man,
“That turkey over there has gone plumb crazy. Musta fell on his head, the worthless, silly thing. Give him some extra feed, George, he’ll do fine this Thanksgiving.”
That shot me over the barn. I had to get away. Next bus came down the road, I was on it, brother, and I never even looked back once. That bus didn’t stop until it hit Florida, and I couldn’t get over those crazy trees sticking out of the ground with their green roots shooting in the air.
A slick looking guy wearing a pinstripped suit and a straw hat was hanging around the bus station. He noticed me right away, and I have to say it made me nervous. Next thing I knew, he sidled up to me and asked if I was one of the Underground Turkeys that flock to Florida to escape the knife. I almost went into shock! What could I do but shake my blue and grey head yes. He looked all around and handed me, secret like, a brown bag.
“Wear this and hang out on the beach for awhile and don’t make any waves,” he said. Told me he was a fowl rescue ranger and he understood my pain.
My Florida Costume.
Now who ever heard of wearing a suit that looks like a headless turkey? But I did it. Oh, the humiliation I’ve known, but that doesn’t get us to the end of the story, so here I go. I learned something real quick—I’m just no good in tropical weather. It wasn’t long before I started getting mildewed feet.
That rescue guy, he suggested I move to Albuquerque. High. Dry. And he said he had a friend there who could probably get me a job as an assistant tour guide.
Well, son, I knew that was right up my alley, and I agreed to ride out there with a car full of turkey lovers, people—and I have to say they were awful nice except for that little toddler who tried to suck on my head when they weren’t looking. I sat right up there in the back seat on a stack of boxes and watched the scenery pass by all the way to New Mexico.
It was love at first sight! I was a New Mexican Turkey as soon as I crossed the line!
Now I can’t tell you where I live or work these days, because I’m incognito and part of the Underground Turkey Railroad Group. We have to lay low, and keep our beaks clean and not gab about our work.
Do I miss Hollyberry Farm? Just a speck. Sometimes at night when I’m just about asleep under that nearly mile-high sky and the stars are twinkling just so and pine and sage smells are tickling my craw, I think about my friends from my other life. For one second, I get a little homesick, but then, I snuggle up to my red chilie ristra and go sound asleep.
In my heart of hearts I know I made the right decision. Next time you’re in Albuquerque, squint your eyes at the Sandia Mountains. Who knows? You might get lucky and see an Albuquerque Turkey darting across the ridges!
Did I make you smile? Do you have any funny turkey stories? Please share…we’d love to hear them!
I’m thankful for each and every one of you! Happy Thanksgiving!
Know what? I’d be as happy as turkey with a new snood if you would wander around my website a bit. To sign up to receive notices of new blogs, recipes, appearances and media news, leave your email address above. Y’all come back soon. I miss you already!
If you like Sassy, Danger and Mystery … you’ll love my Young Adult to any age-novels! I hope you’ll pick up a copy of Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT. It’s available at your nearest Barnes & Noble Bookseller, on my website, Amazon, B&N.com and more. For your convenience, it’s also available for Kindle, the Nook and most other eBook readers.
Book Two of the Silki series, CANYON OF DOOM, launches right before Christmas. Here’s a brief synopsis:
Stealing money isn’t the aim of the Mesa Redondo bank robbers. They want the mysterious metal object Silki and her best friend Birdie discovered in the bogs at Canyon Daacha. With Birdie headed up to Kayenta for the rest of the summer, Silki navigates wide-eyed and solo through a whirl of thievery, scary characters, lost artifacts, and a shadowy stranger Silki dubs “Amber Eyes.” Against a backdrop of Monsoon season floods and quicksand, Silki’s plight is complicated by the hateful slurs of a rebellious cousin her family must rescue before it’s too late. Soon, Silki finds herself smack dab in the middle of a plot stretching all the way back to World War II and reaching right into the very soul of her own family.
I can’t wait for you to meet my new Canyon of Doom illustrator, the Drawing Hands!
Pssst! – All media used in my blogs are either acquired by payment for their use, or don’t require licensing for public use. Often, I use my own personal photos. Please play it safe and don’t recycle images, okay? (P.S. This one of Elizabeth Taylor is free for all. Borrow like crazy if you want!)
When I think of all the media images illicitly borrowed, I just want to float down the Nile.
Jodi Lea Stewart grew up smelling cedar berries and cow manure on a mega-acre Arizona cattle ranch wedged between the Navajo Nation and the White Mountain Apache Tribe Reservation. Her friends were Native American and Hispanic, with a few Anglos thrown in for good measure.
Her pastimes were singing to chickens, climbing giant petroglyph-etched boulders, hanging on for dear life in the back end of rattley old pickups driven over terracotta roads so washed out they qualified as mini-Grand Canyons, and riding one of the orneriest horses God ever put on the planet.
Traumatized beyond repair, she now writes novels in the hope of neutralizing all that craziness.
Before giving her heart to full-time fiction, Jodi cattle-prodded herself through journalism, western magazine writing, college humor writing, album-cover design/liner notes, electro-mechanical drafting, and into a position of managing editor/chief writer of a Fortune 500 corporate newsletter.
Oh, she went on to earn that dreaded BS in Business Management too, but she was pretty much an expert on one part of that degree already.
Jodi Lea Stewart now lives in Texas and New Mexico with her husband, two standard poodles and two rescue cats.
Silki, the Girl of Many Scarves: SUMMER OF THE ANCIENT is Jodi’s first novel.
Book Two in the series, CANYON OF DOOM, debuts Summer of 2013. Book Three in the series, VALLEY OF SHADOWS, hopes to come out of hiding sometime in 2014.