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  • Dan FitzPatrick

Turkeys

(By Cadbury FitzPatrick; faithfully transcribed by Dan FitzPatrick)

This time each year, my human family starts talking incessantly about turkeys. I don’t get it. It’s really odd. There’s not so much special about turkeys, in my humble opinion. Why do they deserve such attention?


I know turkeys. Every now and then, a group of female wild turkeys (I believe they are called “hens”) comes around our yard. Logan and I don’t mind them, and they don’t bother us. Much.


One day, the hens arrived accompanied by a male turkey (referred to as a “gobbler”). He was much bigger than the hens, and frankly pretty pleased with himself. He would strut around our yard as if he owned it, acting very much like the king of all he surveyed.


I was a younger dog then, barely no longer a pup. I took great personal exception to the gobbler’s attitude, so I told Logan that I was going to go scare him off. Logan just chuckled.


I padded up to the gobbler, looked him in the eye and barked (truthfully, it was more like a yelp). The gobbler looked at me curiously, then the most amazing thing happened – his tail (I presume it was his tail since it was at his back) exploded! It grew big and wide, fanning out in a large semi-circle almost as big as the rest of him. He puffed out his chest, the bare skin on his head turned bright red and he lowered his wings, making him look huge. I didn’t wait around to see what else he might do; I simply put my tail between my legs and made a rather embarrassing retreat back to Logan!



We never saw that gobbler since. I like to think he didn’t want to tangle with me again!


Another topic the humans talk about in connection with turkeys is food, or more precisely, eating. Eating a lot. I don’t know why food becomes such a preoccupation this time of year; perhaps it has to do with the fact that the days are getting shorter and colder, signaling the coming of winter. When I was young, I once asked Logan whether the humans were preparing to hibernate, like the chipmunks and squirrels do. He laughed at that, and I have since seen for myself that they do not. And yet the mystery remains.


I have observed that this phenomenon is a communal activity – the humans gather in groups, usually much larger than they do at other times of the year. They seem to really enjoy being together, and their eager anticipation of the event is palpable. Unlike the big celebration that usually follows by about a month, no one seems to bring gifts, other than food, and that in great quantity. Interestingly, I’ve never seen a gobbler or hen accompany them, despite all their talk of turkeys. It is a most curious event.


Once again, I asked Logan for his thoughts. Like me, he had no good explanation for the reason for this annual gathering, though he did have one interesting observation. “Cadbury,” he said, “there is another word I’ve heard the humans use a lot in connection with turkeys. That word is stuffing. It may provide the answer.”


“We’ve seen that every year about this time the humans gather together and stuff themselves with large amounts of food. It is as if they are celebrating the event of eating. Perhaps that is what it is – they are celebrating the Feast of Stuffing.”


“Now that we’ve solved that riddle, let’s head back into the house and see if our humans have put out something for us to eat. All this talk of stuffing has made me very hungry.”


HAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!


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