March 3rd, 2003


Turkeys, Revisited

Turkeys Away! -- Arthur Carlson, WKRP in Cincinnati

"As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!"

-- Arthur Carlson, WKRP in Cincinnati

The morning was crisp, but beautiful. I set off for school with a sigh. "Perfect day for horsing around," I thought.

Reaching the bridge, four miles from home, and counting, wanting to turn around with each mile, but knowing duty called me onward, I sighed again. "I need something to break my mood before I hit the classroom."

Ask and ye shall receive.

She was huge. Black. Shimmery in the sunlight. "Not too far from where I saw the browner turkey last fall. Must be a regular crossing."

She strutted on, oblivious to my approach. "'Wariest birds in the woods,' Tom called them. 'Hard to hunt, hard to hit with a bow.' Right. I may bag her with my trusty truck if she doesn't shake a leg."

She had not a scintilla of foreboding.

I decided to raise her level of concern while I was still far enough back to have some viable options. Even the pheasants crack the grill to smithereens. Turkey a la fan belt is not real high on my list of dishes I'm hankering for a taste of.

Honk, honk, honk.

I was ready for her to scurry right, scurry left, or take flight. She came to a dead halt inches over the center line on my side, eyeballing me as if I were out of place in her domain, not she invading mine so saucily.

I depressed the clutch, letting the roar reverberate as I honked again. "It IS a decidedly unmanly honk for such a big vehicle. Puny, actually."

With a short leap, she was airborne, ponderously flapping her way to a waiting tree. I instinctively ducked in case, "no, okay, she cleared the windshield. Phew... saved me another $250 replacement."

I glanced into my rear view mirror as I started up the hill just past the buffalo wallows. Ping, ping, ping, three more black bodies launched from the near roadside ditch, heading treeward. Then seven more, five more, a hail of turkey bodies marking the black tracer pathway into the trees where the first bird took refuge. The car behind me slowed to a near stop. Five more late flutterers took to the air, barely clearing the raised ground that contained the roadbed. "These birds are not gifted fliers, that's for sure."

The truck crested the hill, hiding the drama. "Turkeys Away... but the bodies are going sideways this time, not being dumped from an airplane's cargo hold to plummet to their deaths all over a city... Boy, I bet that scout gets a thorough bawling out from her troop. Fine lookout YOU turned out to be! You nearly got us all killed."