Isn't this photo hilarious? It reminds me of the turkeys I grew up with. Especially one named Handsome. He was the pet of all turkeys. You see, he came to our house when he was a baby with a mate, a little baby girl turkey. They grew up quite fond of each other and were never seen apart until one day Handsome's girlfriend died. Turkeys don't have a naturally long life. After that he became very lonely. He had nobody to cluck around the garden with or snuggle up to at night. That's when he started following my mom around the yard. Hey, he thought, she's a pretty bird. Over a couple weeks he fell madly in love with my mother. He never left her side when she would cluck about the yard pulling weeds and picking up dog piles. Every time she went back inside he would stand patiently waiting at whichever of the back doors she disappeared into. He was so loyal a bird. At times he even snuck in behind her when the door was left open. She would turn about in the bathroom to the shock of Handsome staring up at her quite like the bird in the photograph above. The trouble came with the rains. You see, turkeys don't have much sense about them. You've heard the tale that a turkey will drown in the rain by looking up with his beak open for the water, yes? Well, I've never known an actual bird this happened to but it was nonetheless disconcerting to watch Handsome waiting there as the December rains set in. My mother began to worry he would catch cold and die. Then she worried that he missed her. Then she worried about the heartbreak that started this whole situation. Eventually my mother began to leave the door to the mudroom open. She would lay down old sheets over the Italian tile that spanned from the mudroom through the family room, to catch the droppings. My mother is eccentric but she wasn't about to let her imported tiles see ruin for some lovesick bird. Anyway, this is how it happened that the whole family would congregate in the family room on evenings and weekends watching Law and Order marathons with a giant meat bird clucking about our feet and occasionally mounting our legs. Hey, can't blame a fella for trying right? It happened this way for a couple years about, till one Thanksgiving while my mom was in Montana preparing for the big move, Handsome became ill. My grandmother, the animal authority whenever my mom was away, was caring for all the animals one afternoon when she noticed Handsome was tucked away in a coop not moving. This was very unlikely for a bird whose greatest joy in life was his human companions. After an emotional discourse with my mother over the phone, my grandmother tucked Handsome in a blanket, no small feat, and drove him to the Humane Society where the veterinarian compassionately explained he would need to be put down. Considering the absurdity of the situation and the time of year, the staff handled Handsome's case like the case of any other beloved pet. A day or two later, the press called. No joke. The Marin county newspaper wrote a sappy Thanksgiving story that year about my mother's pet turkey, Handosme. A pretty good way to honor the silly bird. Anyway, that's what this photograph reminds me of. And it's a good story, so I thought I'd share.
Hope everyone reading in the states has a wonderful day today full of great food and good friends. Jonas and I are heading over to our friend SaraMitra's cozy home for dinner with friends, some bouts of Scrabble, and fun sing-a-long eighties movies. We're bringing a loaf of cottage herb bread, some spinach and goat cheese risotto, a lovely fall salad, and a gorgeous german cheesecake. I can't wait for the cheesecake. This is the first time I've baked one and I'm on pins and needles to see how it tastes.