That isn’t some sort of metaphor. It was real turkeys and they really were following me.
Christmas is in three days and it feels like I should write something Christmassy. Something profound and moving. Unfortunately, I’ve got nothing like that in the ol’ brain.
What I do have is little tale about an encounter with wild turkeys. I’m warning you now that this story is pointless and doesn’t contain anything a good story should. But it was odd, and a little funny and I firmly believe the the more oddly funny things we can take note of in life, the more we can handle the heavy, hard things.
The other morning I walked to the mailbox in four inches of new, powdery snow and found a wild turkey standing in the road near our driveway.
A couple years ago, that would have seemed like the odd part of the story, but that was before we moved deep into the mountains. We see all sorts of wildlife now. Deer, elk, bald eagles, the occasional bear or moose. And turkeys, wandering by in groups of a couple dozen, pecking through the yard, running away if you get too close.
So the wild turkey standing in the middle of the road wasn’t unusual beyond the fact that this one was just chilling by herself and letting me come very close. I chatted at her and she chirped back. Turkeys don’t gobble as often as you’d think. They chirp and cluck and click, but they rarely gobble.
We talked about the nice snow, how fluffy it was, I asked if her little feet were cold, I asked where the rest of her group was.
Hold on…googling what a group of turkeys is called…
Oh, how boring.
A group of wild turkeys is called a flock. Booooring. (A domesticated group of turkeys is called a rafter, which is at least unique.)
Well, I asked her where her flock was and she chirped loudly and one more turkey came racing up the street. The first one chirped and walked past me, looking nonchalant. The second followed her. I told them goodbye, that I hoped they found the rest of their flock and I began to walk back to the house.
When I glanced back, both turkeys were silently trotting down the snowy driveway behind me.
They stopped about five feet behind me and looked off into the trees as if to say, “Just standing here gazing into the woods. Not following you in a bordering-on-creepy manner.”
I looked around for the rest of the flock, but they were nowhere to be seen. Just two lone turkeys.
So I asked them the obvious question: Were they actually my husband and son who had just left to see Star Wars? Had they encountered some rogue magician who had turned them both into turkeys? Female turkeys to complicate the matter even further?
When they didn’t answer I told them that if so, they’d need to do something spectacular to prove it. And then they were screwed anyway because I don’t know how to reverse something like that.
Then I hoped no neighbors were listening.
The turkeys did nothing but stare into the trees, feigning boredom.
When I turned to go back to the house, they followed. I stopped short, they veered to the side for a couple steps, keeping about five feet away.
I laughed at them, they pretended I wasn’t there.
They followed me right up to the garage. Then they turned and raced around the house clucking madly to each other and leaving me to feel like I had missed whatever was really going on.
So there you have it, my encounter with two wild turkeys. The kind of encounter where nothing actually happens. You are welcome.
I realize this isn’t even a particularly funny story, just an odd one, and I can not connect it to Christmas in any way. But I do think odd moments in life should be captured and remembered. Because a lot of days go by without me noticing the kind of oddness that standing in the snow five feet from an strangely behaving wild turkey holds.
So there you have it.
I hope you all have a very merry Christmas full of things that are just odd enough to be funny.
And if you’re interested in a list of other fun names for groups of animals, here you go: