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Turkey Defense

Here’s my dad in 1981 with “Meaty”, our aptly named pet turkey. Meaty was quite the barnyard showpiece. We’d raised him from a chick. And, well, kids do dumb things, and I was no exception. I teased him a lot when his voice began changing from a cheep to a gobble. I gobbled loudly at him constantly to make him gobbly-cheep back. It was hilarious at the time. As a result, he grew to dislike me intensely.

I have no idea what was going on inside his bird brain, but as a fully grown turkey, he would sneak up on me at every opportunity to attack. It was only me that he disliked. Everyone else could pet him on his bumpy red head and play with his weird warm waddle affectionately. Not me. He would pick me out of a crowd of people, flapping his wings like baseball bats against my thigh and driving his 2-inch talons into my calves. One day in my self defense, I waved a horse’s lead rope and halter in his direction to fend him off, and accidentally knocked him on the head with the metal buckle. He flopped to the ground completely unconscious. I thought I’d killed him.

I panicked and tried to think of what I would tell my mother about the beloved family pet. I stroked his knobby head and told him how sorry I was. I said a prayer to please undo this mistake. My prayer was answered. About 60 seconds later he opened his eyes and hopped up, seemingly good as new. What great relief. Meaty and I pretty much avoided each other after that, managing to co-exist somewhat peacefully in the barnyard. … until he met his untimely demise a couple of years later at the jaws of a hungry coyote.

It seems I am not the only one who has ever fought with a turkey. Recently, a friend sent me a hilarious turkey-wrestling video ad for a JennieO Oven Ready Turkey. I could totally relate. The moment the woman in the video sent her unruly turkey soaring out of her kitchen window and into the back of her husband’s head, I knew I needed one of these birds. Given my special affinity for turkey wrestling, I was hooked. So, this past Sunday night I cooked the “Oven Ready Boneless Turkey Breast” from their product line, or as my family called it, “turkey boob in a bag”.

I literally took it out of the freezer and put into my oven already in its cooking bag. No thawing, no seasoning, no preparing, nothing. I didn’t have to do a thing or even touch the raw turkey. It seemed too good to be true. I kept re-reading the instructions for the catch. I even started to dig around in the kitchen drawers looking for my meat thermometer, until I realized it already had one of those nifty pop up things. This was one of the easiest dinners I have ever made.

All three kids gave it a thumbs up, and ditto for the gravy that came with it. Delicious. And no one was hit in the head by a giant flopping bird. …Or stabbed in the leg by a spit-angry flapping one. If only I could have gotten along as well with ol’ Meaty.


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5 comments

1 Anonymous { 11.13.08 at 9:49 am }

LOL ! Hilarious!

2 Devra { 11.21.08 at 10:05 pm }

I had no idea you were so fowl as a child. ; )

Glad your family enjoyed the Bag O’ Boob!

3 Anonymous { 11.22.08 at 10:08 pm }

Personally, I am cheering for the turkey. Too bad he didn’t have anywhere to go to get away from the coyote–since he was a family “pet”

4 Road Trip Mom { 11.23.08 at 1:07 pm }

For the record, Meaty did have a nice place to go to get away from the rare visits from coyotes. He lived a good turkey life as a free range bird with plenty of food and care. Unfortunately sometimes the coyotes won.

5 Devra { 11.24.08 at 9:50 am }

Farm life is hard, even on family pets. I know my father had a cat who was attacked by a fox when he was growing up. No one could see it coming, one second the cat was there,the next the fox was pouncing. : (

I’m not sure a turkey would even know how to get away from a coyote as coyotes far outsmart a turkey as a predator.