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Selected Podpieces


This morning, I was sitting at my desk, busily staring out the window, when out in the yard there arose such a racket I sprang from my chair and put on my jacket. No, no, wrong story. Actually I sprang from my chair and yanked open the door and shouted at Pippin and Thurber to stop all that barking!

They paid no attention.

So I stomped out into the yard to see what the heck they were barking at, and there under the bird feeder stood the fattest, proudest, most beautiful, most intimidating Tom Turkey that ever inhabited God's green earth. Well, he thought so, anyway. No stupid domestic dogs were going to keep him from his self-appointed rounds. He was all puffed up, spreading his tail and strutting about shaking his long, sexy red wattle at us, shouting GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE GOBBLE!

In time the dogs stopped barking and began to look bored, so I ran back inside and seized my binoculars so I could get a closer look at the turkey. What a show. This is the turkey we finger-painted in first grade, not those poor bland white ones that spend their whole lives penned up in vast sheds and end up frozen solid with little red pop-up buttons inserted in their chests. This guy had layer upon layer of beautiful black and grey and speckled feathers that shifted in color as he moved. He was so bold and proud of himself that it was easy to see why Ben Franklin thought this guy’s great-great-evevr-so-great-grandfather should be our National Bird.

At last, having decided that he'd reduced the fierce dogs to snivelling, cowering wretches, Mr. Turkey smoothed himself out, gave one last shake of the wattle, and strutted on up the hill. And out of the woods behind him came a flock of turkey hens, sashaying along, their silly heads bobbing at the end of their long necks as they plucked things off the ground – a sunflower seed here, a bit of soggy cracked corn there. That Tom Turkey had seven wives, and it looked like they would follow him to St. Ives or anywhere he wanted them to go.

Wild turkeys are not really very high on my list of favorite birds, since they eat too many little frogs and salamanders. But I will keep my eyes peeled in the hope that one of these days the turkeys will stroll back through the yard, followed by a herd of little replicas of themselves, excitedly making their way into the great world.

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