I hear a chickadee in the distance. In a flash I am up and have my face against the screen in one of the cottage’s front bedroom windows, nearest to where I think the sound is originating from.(I like to call back to any of the birds whose song I know, when I have the time.) To draw him in closer I whistle my best impression of his little tune. I don’t see him yet, but I can hear him answer me. He is much closer than before. I call… he answers. I call… he answers. I wonder if he is in the tree that is right in front of the other wing of the L shaped cottage we have rented here on Lake Kashagawigamog. It sounds like he may be right beside the front door. I call again… he answers again. With the direction his call is coming from now, I know that I am right. I run down the hall and through the kitchen, nearly skidding out on the hardwood as I make a quick turn into the dining room area. Of course we have chickadees at home, so it’s not my “bird of the year” to add to a list of personal sightings or anything. It’s just that I like making these feeble attempts at calling the little winged creatures in closer whenever I have the time and inclination. Cottage life tends to give me both, so I press up against the screen in the dining room to look out and I hear his call again—louder this time— as though he is practically right there in the room with us… I glance over at Rolly and catch a glimpse of his pursed lips.
“You turkey! That was you!”
“The chickadee! That’s you!”
“Yeah, just now. But I heard him awhile ago and now every time I call him he answers. I think he must be somewhere in the tree out front here.
“That was just me! I was calling— out the bedroom window kitty corner from you!”
“Wow! You’re good!”
“I know.” I said. (in my best Jerry Seinfeld self-congratulatory tone of fake incredulity.)”Wait ‘til you hear what other things I can do!”
Rolly has already witnessed my talent for calling turkeys, but he never answers back to that particular call, which certainly alleviates the confusion.
In truth we were going down a back road one day when in the field beside us we saw a flock of wild turkeys. It was early spring— probably the time a young male turkey’s fancy turns to love—I know, they’re called Toms, but I choose to just call them male turkeys, in deference to all those Thomases out there.
I rolled down my window, right beside the flock, as Rolly came to a gentle rolling stop.
“Gobble Gobble Gobble!…Gobble Gobble Gobble!” I called, as I stuck my head partly out. Immediately the Sultan of the harem stepped forward from the desultory group of feathered females around him. In fact it actually appeared that he was preparing for lift off as his wings rose toward the midpoint of what I can only assume was their potential range.
“Gobble Gobble Gobble!” I called again, just before he launched himself slightly airborne toward the vehicle, and my retreating head!
“Haha! That’s so funny!” I said, as I hastened to crank the window up a little further, wishing we had bought a model with electric roll ups and not the last Ford Escort in North America to come with pokey manual window openers.
“Gobble Gobble Gobble!”
I make it a personal rule not to let myself be intimidated by turkeys, but time was moving on. “Well, Rolly, we better get going or we’re going to be late.” I petitioned, and so he started to move forward…slowly… As we began to move… Mr. Turkey began to move… then as we began to speed up… Mr. Turkey began to speed up. “Gobble Gobble Gobble…Gobble Gobble Gobble!” he choked out as he trotted along beside us, getting even redder in the face than usual. Soon he was moving along beside us like the Road Runner trying to escape Wile E. Coyote. In an attempt to prove that he still had all his giblets, that he wasn’t ready to be a turkey croquette just yet, he threw himself into turkey overdrive! Faster! Then faster! Then faster yet! Faster than a speeding bullet! — Well not quite— not unless someone could testify in court that they had attempted to shoot a wild turkey somewhere on Springer Drive near Mt. Brydges, and that the turkey had evaded the shot with supersonic speed that could only be attributed to growing up next to a defective nuclear power plant! Let’s just say that his speed was impressive enough that had someone put him in the oven for dinner that very hour, I’m sure they could have cut half an hour off the safe cooking time. He was that overheated! And speaking of eating wild turkey, we are still not in possession of any tickets to the Wild Game fund-raising dinner sponsored by a local historical society that Rolly has a desire to attend up here. It appears that somebody may be spared. Either one of Mr. Turkey’s kin or me — as I’m still not very sure that I’m up for consuming a creature that so obviously has strong feelings about being made fun of!