Talking Turkey

Photo credit: kristin_a (Meringue Bake Shop) via / CC BY-SA

We were talking about pets the other day. I have a rescue dog called Ernie. He’s deaf, blind and he doesn’t bark. Being deaf myself, we make quite a pair. My children tease me relentlessly as Ernie also has a fifth leg – if you know what I mean. And I’ll leave it at that since this is a family blog.


In our house, when my children were young, we had our fair share of cats, dogs, kittens, turtles, gold fish, and mice. When asked about my pets, I often think of our pet turkey, Tommy.

Tommy didn’t start out as a pet. When Tony, Carmen and I were young, we asked for a live turkey one Thanksgiving. Little did we know in the week that he lived in our cellar he would become our friend.

He was a clever bird. He could always sense when we were about to sneak down the stairs. He’d hide underneath the stairs to lie in wait – ready to chase us.

We’d creep down oh so quietly, first Tony and then Carmen. I would bring up the rear.
We’d get to the bottom of the stairs and there was no sign of Tommy. And then we would call him.

“Gobble, gobble, gobble!”

He’d poke his head out and chase us to the stairs, where we would fall over each other trying to escape his sharp beak. Tony and Carmen would run right over me in their effort to get away. Thanks guys.

Naturally we were quite concerned that Tommy was going to be our guest of honor at dinner. And so we made my mother promise that we wouldn’t eat him.

She agreed and said he would be sent to a farm where he could live outside and enjoy fresh air.

(And here I have to confess, I may have used a similar explanation when the gold fish died and we had to “free” them in the toilet so they could get to the ocean.)

And so when Thanksgiving Day arrived we were relieved that the bird on the table wasn’t Tommy.

As we sat at the table, my brothers, my parents, and my grandmother and I said a quick prayer of thanks. And just as my father was about to carve the turkey, Tony unbeknownst to us started to shake the table with his knee.

Carmen and I saw the turkey start to move, our eyes grew round, and we knew that Tommy wasn’t on the farm. That he had come back to chase us, and chase us he did. We ran out of the house screaming, “It’s alive, it’s alive.”

And that was the last time we had a pet.


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