After yesterday’s post, which included turkey vultures, the children would like me to explain how turkeys have come to figure prominently in our family jokes.
Our camping trip had been largely a bust. We’d had a good first day, but now everything everywhere was wet. The rain came sporadically – just enough to keep us from doing anything but not quite enough to send us home. Mercifully, our tent wasn’t leaking, but keeping an almost-4-year-old and a 6-year-old occupied in a tent was taking a toll on everyone. Finally, after an aborted attempt to tell yet another story, Andre declared that it was “just water” and loaded us all into the car to go find a trailhead and take a hike.
The children were shocked.
“But it’s raining!” protested one.
“And muddy!” objected the other, looking at me because I, too, was grumpy and this sudden decision to hike in the rain struck me as, um, unwise. I kept my mouth shut and tried to be impressed by Andre’s enthusiasm, but I was mostly annoyed as I imagined more mud in more places.
We shoved everyone into rain gear and drove the five minutes to the trailhead in silence.
As we got out of the car, the drizzle began again and a breeze shook water from the trees onto our heads. Commence loud complaining. Andre, whose ability to be creative and funny in the face of daunting circumstances never ceases to amaze me, stepped onto the trail then stopped short and said, “Ssh… you don’t want to scare the turkeys!”
He crouched down a little and looked towards the forest as though turkeys might appear at any moment. “Ok,” he whispered, “these are special giant turkeys unique to this region. The biggest ones can get as big as a small car. Actually, one was nearly as big as our car.”
The boys looked doubtful. I was trying very hard not to laugh. Andre continued, “If we want to see them, we need to proceed carefully. And we need to call them. Do you know how to call a turkey?”
We all shook our heads no. Andre, still crouched and tiptoeing, started to gobble while the three of us, convinced he had lost his mind, just stared at him. Then I thought, what the heck, and I started to gobble, too. Thomas watched us briefly and joined in. We proceeded cautiously towards the trees, gobbling like maniacs. Only 3-year-old Eric hung back.
Andre turned around and said quietly, “C’mon, Eric, don’t you want to help call the turkeys?” Eric just stared at him. He shook his head.
Thomas and I chimed it, cajoling, “Come on, it’s easy, you just say ‘gobble, gobble’.”
Eric shook his head again. He was not going to gobble. The rest of us might have gone insane, but he was maintaining a firm grip on reality.
Andre tried one more time, “Ok, Eric. If you don’t want to gobble, how do you call a turkey?”
Eric fixed us all with narrowed eyes, put his hands around his mouth, leaned back and bellowed, “HEY! TURKEY!”
The rest of the hike was lots of fun.