A Thanksgiving Tail. . .Er, Tale

by Gray Cargill on November 21, 2012

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Here in the U.S., Thanksgiving is being celebrated tomorrow, Thursday, November 22. You may be staying home and cooking a turkey dinner (or some vegetarian version thereof), or you may be hitting the road to visit family or friends. Or perhaps you take advantage of the long holiday weekend to travel.

This year, I’ll be hosting Thanksgiving at my house for my parents and a friend from Brooklyn. I’m not the world’s most enthusiastic cook as a rule, but I’m looking forward to it. It’s a change of pace I needed. (Anything that doesn’t have to do with computers these days feels like a reprieve.) Of course, it also means my time is filled with cleaning and preparing the house for company.

So I’m taking a break this week from travel posts. Instead, let me tell you a little story of a memorable Thanksgiving from a few years ago when I went to my parents’ house for Thanksgiving:

By way of a bit of background, my parents, like many Vermonters, love to feed the birds. I’m sure you know the type. Winter, spring, summer and fall, you will find them trucking big bags of bird seed outside to fill up bird feeders in front of the house, behind the house and along the tree line. In the winter, they have to clear paths in several feet of snow between all the bird feeders because God forbid they can’t get the seed out there for the birds! The poor little things might starve! (And you thought it was bad having to shovel the driveway. . . .)

I don’t even want to think about how much money they spend on bird seed in a typical year. But we all have our hobbies that give us joy and that we probably spend too much money on (cough*travel*cough), and this is theirs. I’ll admit, it is pretty cool when you spot a blue jay or a woodpecker amongst the chickadees.

The thing about bird feeders is that they tend to attract more than just birds. They attract chipmunks and squirrels, raccoons and even bears. My parents sputter and get indignant about all these other creatures coming into their yard, overrunning the place, eating the seeds that were meant for the birds. “How dare they? Don’t they know that’s for the birds?” No, I don’t think they do.


What do you mean, the seeds are for the birds? I don't see their name on them.....

But on this particular day—Thanksgiving Day—their bird feeders attracted what it was supposed to: Birds. Including some very big birds. . .wild turkeys.

Oh the irony.

Outside, the turkeys—a handful of them–were waddling around the lawn pecking away at fallen seeds on the ground, while inside, one of their cousins was emitting the most aromatic scent as it roasted for dinner. I couldn’t believe the smell didn’t send them running. In fact, they seemed awfully nonchalant about the whole thing.

Do you know what we’re doing in here? I wanted to yell out the door. Why aren’t you upset?


Well of course we're gobbling it up....

I wondered briefly if it was all an act, just to get close to the house. Maybe they were plotting their revenge. Would they surround the house and attack when we least expected it, like something out of Hitchcock’s The Birds?

Not so much. Turns out, turkeys have a really lousy sense of smell. They likely had no idea they were standing outside the House of Turkey Horrors. And no, we did not take advantage of the opportunity to stock up on the next year’s Thanksgiving dinner. I did feel a little guilty eating turkey that year, though. Just a little.


Wishing you all a wonderful week, and if you’re celebrating–with or without turkeys–a very Happy Thanksgiving!

Nico @ ATravellersJourney November 28, 2012 at 5:43 am

Maybe they see it as a karma thing. Your parent spend the year feeding the local birds so they can consume one on Thanksgiving. The turkeys outside were just letting you know they’re okay with the deal.

Gray November 28, 2012 at 5:58 pm

That’s as good a theory as any, Nico!

Andi of My Beautiful Adventures November 23, 2012 at 2:18 pm

Hahahaha that is SO crazy, I love it!

Gray November 23, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Andi. 🙂

Shell November 21, 2012 at 12:56 pm

This was great; hope your dinner goes well. I am not a cook, and the thought of hostessing an entire Thanksgiving Dinner has always intimidated me, I am sure you will hit it out of th park.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Gray November 21, 2012 at 7:38 pm

I’m glad you liked it, Shell! Thanks, I’ll need all the well-wishes I can get. I’m just hoping I don’t poison anyone. 😉

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