18 November 2018

[Bess Tuggle] - Memoirs of Surviving Children: Tom the Turkey

I have a friend.  One truly, good, best friend (my husband excluded, he’s my heart).  We’ve been through a lot together, my friend and I, learned a lot from each other, and we’re still friends.  Lawd help us both!

We raised our children together.  Six boys are a hot mess to deal with, and it took both of us.  The good, the bad ‘n the ugly.  The boys simply migrated between houses.  I’ll have to save some of those details for other columns (the night her youngest shot me with a paintball gun while we tried to build a bon-fire for them should be a good one; making all the boys stack wood as punishment will be another).

It might be months between my friend and I get to talk, but then we catch up.  Kids, grandkids, spouses and parents…  It’s all good.

After a couple decades of friendship, we developed a soft rule.  Never start a conversation with “What ya doin’ today?”  That’s not good from either of us.  We both learned to take a deep breath, count to 3 and answer “Why” before saying “nothing.”  That “nothing” could get you into all kinds of stuff.  Or get you all kinds of stuff.

I got a call from my friend just before Thanksgiving one time.  Her husband got a couple turkeys from his boss.  Not one, but TWO!  Did I want one?  

I forgot the 1-2-3 rule.  With mouths to feed I answered “Yes!”

Here she comes in her dually, parked it in the driveway and we caught up with each other.  Then I noticed the box on the back of her truck.  It was a –really- big box, which wasn’t unusual, until it started going “Gobble, gobble.”  

She reached in – and pulled out “Tom.”

Yes, Tom was a real, live turkey.  Out of the box he came, and into the woods he went, happily gobbling along the way.  Thanksgiving wasn’t quite what we expected it to be that year, but…  We got to add another “friend” to our happy lil’ mix.  

Tom would come up to the house every day to get fed when I’d yell “Gobble, gobble, gobble” off the back porch.  

Tom only had one real enemy, and that was a neighbor.  We only allowed a select few to hunt on our property.  The problem came when a neighbor that got up regularly before dawn, crept into the woods, silently climbed up into a deer stand to hunt - and Tom found him every time.  Tom equated people with food.  That’s not a good thing when you’re trying to deer hunt and a turkey is sitting at the bottom of the tree, gobbling its fool head off, waiting to be fed.  Needless to say, our neighbor didn’t get any deer –that- season.

The rest of the time Tom was just another member of our menagerie.  He ended up living happily in the woods for the rest of his life – and he didn’t get roasted, baked or stuffed.

- Bess Tuggle 


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