When I first came to America, I was invited to share my first Thanksgiving meal at a friend of my mom and dad. They lived up in the mountains. I remember we had already had our first snow fall for the season. I remember the crisp bite of cold air, and the delicious smells wafting from the kitchen. The table was laden with dishes – stuffing, green beans, mashed potatoes, and gravy. The roasted turkey was huge. I had never seen anything so large.
I think Thanksgiving is a lovely tradition. It is a wonderful time to gather, connect with family and friends and remind ourselves of all the things we are thankful. This year, thanks to COVID-19, Thanksgiving is going to be a quite different experience.
In The Wild Turkeys Caitlin and Rio experience a unique Thanksgiving. Here is a short extract…
"Look Lloyd," Mrs. Brewster gasped. She pointed towards the door.
Caitlin's mom gasped. Podge laughed. Shanaya giggled. Caitlin glared at Podge.
In the doorway, his tail feathers fanned bristled Tully. Behind him, Caitlin could make out two of the other females - Amber and Crystal.
"Oh no!" Caitlin cried. The wild turkeys had gotten out of the garage. Where was Rio? They needed Rio.
Tully clucked. He looked at each of them. Mr. Brewster who was about to put a helping of turkey meat into his mouth put his fork down.
Caitlin felt a rush of cold air.
"Rio?" Caitlin yelled.
Angus, Mr. Brewster's dog who had been lying at Mr. Brewster's feet, sat up and whimpered.
"Well?" Mrs. Brewster demanded. "Megan, aren't you going to do something?"
"Erm?" Caitlin's mom said.
Mrs. Brewster stood up. "Now look here," she said to Tully. "This is a Thanksgiving meal. You know perfectly well that turkey meat is eaten by Americans at Thanksgiving. There is no need to act so shocked. Now, why don't you take," she waved at poor Bert, "him and go back to where you came from."
Caitlin's mom gaped at Mrs. Brewster. Caitlin could not believe that Mrs. Brewster was talking to a wild turkey.
Mrs. Brewster continued. "Now, shoo," she waved her arms at Tully.
Tully stomped a foot. His feathers rustled.
"I wouldn't do that," Podge whispered.
Mrs. Brewster said again, "now shoo!"
Angus dropped to his belly and whined. Under the table, he found the calm presence of Rio. He licked Rio's face, and wagged his tail.
Tully stared at Mrs. Brewster. He puffed himself up, and then with feathers swaying he started to strut towards Mrs. Brewster.
"Sit down, Prudence," Mr. Brewster hissed, "and be quiet."
Mrs. Brewster frowned at her husband. "I will not!" she retorted. "I will not be dictated to by these, these," she seemed at a loss for words.
"Turkeys?" Podge supplied helpfully. He grinned. Caitlin thought it was unfair that he seemed to be enjoying himself.
Tully stopped, and blinked at Mr. Brewster.
Caitlin heard the faint whisper of song.
Angus whined again and rolled onto his back displaying his tummy.
"Come Bert," Caitlin could hear Crystal call. "Come to us, Bert," she heard the song swell.
"Gobble?" Bert replied. He stared down at the diners, and then at Tully and Crystal. He shifted and bobbed.
Caitlin thought that Bert was confused. She didn't think Bert knew quite how to come down from the highest shelf.
Podge followed her gaze. "You don't think?" he asked as Bert ruffled his feathers.
Then Bert launched himself and tried to flap at the same time. Unfortunately, Bert was not a very coordinated turkey.
"Gobble!" Bert cried and fell to the center of the dining room table.
Shanaya gasped as Bert narrowly missed her plate of food. Mrs. Brewster was not so lucky as the poor turkey landed partially on her plate. Bert panicked. He didn't like this. He wanted to get to safety and Tully. He tried to jump, but his claws caught on the dish of macaroni and cheese. He and the macaroni and cheese slid across the table.
Bert leapt and sent the macaroni and cheese crashing to the floor.
"Argghh!" Mrs. Brewster screamed. Bert landed in the middle of her chest. She stumbled, and then fell back.
"Oomph!" Mrs. Brewster said as she landed on the floor.
"Gobble!" a terrified Bert called. He had not meant to land in the middle of the woman's chest. "Gobble?" he cried again calling for Tully.
Bert hopped off Mrs. Brewster's chest "Gobble?" he asked peering up at the large male.
"Gobble!" Tully said.
"Gobble, gobble, cluck, cluck," Crystal and Amber called.
Bert darted around Tully and followed the sounds to Crystal and Amber.
Tully rustled his feathers and clucking quietly followed Bert.
Podge reached over to Caitlin and removed one of Bert's feathers from Caitlin's hair. He handed it to her. "Best Thanksgiving Ever," Podge grinned.”