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Saturday, June 6, 2009

Wild Turkey Alarm Clock

Living in the country is sometimes a mixed blessing. The peace and quiet was interrupted this morning by the loud, obnoxious gobble, gobble, gobble of a wild turkey who seemed to be outside my bedroom window. I looked at the clock and thought I could sleep for two more hours and still be getting up early for a Saturday morning. The turkey thought differently.

I have to admit that in all the years I’ve lived in this house, I’ve been awakened by barking dogs, cat fights, thunder, and several other annoying morning noises, but not once has a turkey been close enough to the house to gobble me awake. I knew turkeys lived in the nearby woods. When Jim was building our house he was up at the crack of dawn every day to work on the project. As soon as Jim began hammering, the turkeys began to gobble.

Missouri is overrun by turkeys. They are awkward in flight, and seem to make up their minds to fly across the road just as a car is swooshing by. My sister wound up with a tom turkey in her lap one time when he crashed through the windshield.

Turkeys are more pleasant to watch when they strut in the fields, where they belong. Each morning on my way to work, I look at the field I think of as a deer and turkey haven. Deer and turkeys seem to frequent the same type of habitat. Some mornings I’ll see five or six deer and a dozen turkeys.

A few weeks ago, I saw an unusual sight. In a misting rain, a friend and I were approaching the toll bridge near Lake Ozark. A turkey crossed the road with about a dozen poults lined up behind her. The traffic stopped while the turkey family meandered across the highway.

All these ruminations about turkeys should have put me back to sleep, but the persistent turkey outside my window gobbled every time I drifted off. I peeked through the blinds expecting to see him in my yard. I’m not sure what I would have done if he had been in my line of vision, but I was seething murderous thoughts.

Finally, I decided to get up and make coffee. While the coffee brewed, I put on a light jacket. I walked to the road and retrieved the paper out of the box. On my return trip, I heard wings flopping and saw a huge bird flounder off a limb of the oak tree. He flew ungracefully across the gravel road, barely clearing the fence, and out of sight into the field.

For a moment, I puzzled over what the heck that awkward bird could be. Suddenly, it dawned on me that my turkey alarm clock was going off duty. It never occurred to me that turkeys roosted in trees.

I walked into the house and poured myself a cup of coffee and carried it into the living room. I opened the patio doors to a world of chirping birds and barking squirrels. With my early start on the day, I had plenty of time to relax over coffee and the paper.

Yes, indeed, living in the country is a mixed blessing. I’m up earlier than I planned, but it’s shaping up to be a beautiful day.
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