Hello, little turkey. Thank you for giving your life in honor of our celebration. You are a beautiful and noble creature. Delicious too.
A few years ago, back in the Army, I was in charge of running a firing range. We did our marksmanship training on outdoor shooting ranges in the wide-open spaces of Fort Bragg, NC. Part of this duty included arriving at the range before the other Soldiers, to prepare everything.
I’ll never forget pulling up to that empty range, in the early, North Carolina haze. For there in the morning twilight, walking along the firing line, were 8 wild turkeys. My driver and I stayed aloof in our HMMWV for fear of scaring them off. They must have found something to eat, because they stayed for a long time.
What a humorous and ironic picture that left in my mind. Eight hunted birds known for their tastiness, calmly walking across a live-fire range with brightly painted targets just over their heads. “X” marks the spot. But now that I think about it, it was probably the safest place for those little guys to be, for even with fully-loaded weapons and live ammunition all around them, it would be a crime to discharge a round at anything other than the targets. Soon they flew off into the sky to tempt their fates.
Our rural ancestors, with little blest,
Patient of labour when the end was rest,
Indulged the day that housed their annual grain,
With feasts, and off'rings, and a thankful strain.