Lurking turkeys and other fowl things

Sometimes a real event makes better reading than a complete fabrication. When I begin thinking about Thanksgiving, I realize I have a true story to share.

Our good friends, I’ll call them Larry and Mary, live in a house with a little land, that, when my wife and I used to commute into Kirkland, we drove by twice daily.

One morning, still a little sleepy eyed, driving past their house, something caught the corner of my eye. I said to my wife, “I just saw something back there that looked like a turkey.”

“Well, next time finish your coffee before you get out on the road,” she replied. “Turkey, bah!”

A couple of days later, once again driving to work, I say a turkey flying across our friend’s front lawn.

“There,” I said. “See, I told you, it’s a turkey.”

Another couple of days passed. Coming home, we saw a car stopped in front of Larry and Mary’s home. Outside the passenger side was a turkey, pecking at the car. The lady driving the car was in a state of high agitation.

When we got home, I called Larry.

“OK, what’s the story on the turkey in your yard?” I demanded.

“This wild turkey showed up one day and kind of adopted us,” Larry replied. “He won’t leave. As a matter of fact, he is acting like he owns the place.

“We’ve named him Tom and pretty much let him have the run of the backyard,” he said.

That Thanksgiving, I called back and asked Larry if they had cooked Tom up for dinner.

“Gosh no, he’s one of the family. Besides, Mary would kill me.”

Mary is heavily into charities that help damaged animals. She wouldn’t hurt any creature, and she spreads her special love and kindness to any who asked, in their animal way.

That was some five or six years ago. Now, every time we visit our friends, I have to stop by their backyard and say hi to Tom. He’s been through two floods and some severe stormy weather, but still he persists.

During one particular flood, he got up to the top of his perch and stood on one leg as the water lapped just inches below his foot. The water went down, and so did Tom. I hope Tom says a little turkey prayer every season about this time.

The turkey king lives in the small town of Republic, in the far northeastern corner of Washington state. Republic isn’t known for much more than being a choice place to hunt deer. Well, other than being the home of the King of the Turkeys.

My Uncle Bud is the turkey’s king. He used to live in a small place out on State Route 20 before you got into town. A rafter (that’s another name for a gang of turkeys) of the birds used to come down into his backyard for the feed he would spread for them. He was another good-hearted soul who would no sooner kill and eat a turkey than my friends Larry and Mary.

One autumn, Uncle Bud sent me a picture of some 30 turkeys grazing in his backyard. It wasn’t long after that we were invited to Moses Lake for a family get-together and to celebrate Bud’s 80th birthday.

With the magic of a photo manipulation program on the computer, and a little creativity, I transposed Uncle Bud’s head on to the body of a turkey, made up a short story about him really being the King of the Turkeys, and the family celebrated and had a good time with Uncle Bud at his birthday party.

Thanksgiving always calls up some very nice memories in our household. But those may be just a little different from the usual Thanksgiving holiday memories you may share with your family.

• Bob Edwards lives in North Bend and is a member of the Sno Valley Writes! group. E-mail him at bobledwards@comcast.net.

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