The ‘Big Tom’ that didn’t quite get away

By Dolores Renfrow - Country Through and Through

Long time ago, I used to raise turkeys extensively. Every Thanksgiving I had several big fat homegrown turkeys to sell. I encountered no problem in selling the nice birds; my worst problem came in catching them.

I raised the turkeys using what folks call today “free range.” They ranged all over the farm and roosted at night in a “hen house.” But after they reached maturity, they no longer wanted to roost inside the little building, preferring instead to roost in a nearby tree.

One late fall evening, I got a phone call from a gentleman, who asked about purchasing a large turkey “Tom.” I advised him that I had only one Tom to sell, but that he was very welcome to it.

He agreed to buy the turkey and proceeded to ask directions to my farm.

After hanging up the phone, I got some twine and my flashlight and headed for the poultry house. I stood is dismay, staring at the big Tom perched on the roof of that poultry house. “Well, I got my work cut out for me,” I thought to myself as I began to climb up on the roof…

I tried to balance my flashlight as I climbed. That ol’ bird must have known I was coming for him, for he began to inch forward toward the very edge of the roof.

“I gotta move fast,” I thought as I crawled through “turkey poo” and reached for his huge feet. At the same instant, the big old Tom decided he’d best vacate the premises. My fingers grasped his feet as he began his flight. I’ve always wondered what it’d feel like to fly, and that night, I came very close to flying, compliments of that ol’ turkey.

I held on for dear life , as he commenced to beat me to death with his huge wings; all the while spreading turkey drippings withing a half-mile radius!

Now, I realize the bird was frightened, but so was I!

But still, I held on; and when he decided it was hopeless to struggle any longer, I gingerly made my way off the roof with “Big Tom” in tow.

When I reached my yard, the turkey customer was pulling into the driveway. I staggered over to his truck as he got out. I must have looked a sight, for the gentleman said, “Ma’am. are you all right?”

“Yes sir,” I replied breathlessly. “Just had a little problem catching this feller here. Guess he must’a known her’s gonna be Thanksgiving dinner for someone.”

The gentleman chuckled as he placed the Tom in a cage in the back of the pickup. “Well ma’am, I really wanted the Tom turkey for a ‘breeder.’ I have got a couple of hens at home and wanted to raise some turkeys myself.”

As he started the engine and put the pickup in reverse, I shined my flashlight in the cage that held the ol’ Tom; and I declare it looked like that ol’ turkey “smiled” at me! He certainly had a gleam in his eyes.

As they drove away, I stood there bruised and exhausted, smelling like a manure pile and covered with feathers; knowing beyond a shadow o a doubt there went one happy (and lucky) turkey!

Hope your “Turkey Day” is great!

Till next time!

By Dolores Renfrow

Country Through and Through

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