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Monday, May 20, 2024

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One Turkey’s Thoughts on Thanksgiving By: Puffledown of Cold Spring Village

By Maureen Cawley

Thanksgiving dinner’s sad and thankless
Christmas dinner’s dark and blue
When you stop and try to see it
From the turkey’s point of view…
…Oh how I once loved tuna salad
Pork and lobsters, lamb chops too
‘Til I stopped and looked at dinner
From the dinner’s point of view.
“Point of View,” by Shel Silverstein
Thanksgiving is upon us once again, and I assume from where you stand it looks pretty nice – treasured family traditions, a tasty feast and a day to pause and be thankful for all of life’s blessings. I assume you buy the holiday hype, but for some of us feathered folk, the celebration loses a bit of it’s allure the moment we take a look at the menu.
”Hmm, corn…that sounds yummy, and cranberries. Ooh, and pumpkin, I’ll have some of that, and what’s this…AAAAHHHH!”
Well, I for one, don’t believe that this is at all what Benjamin Franklin had in mind when he nominated our noble breed to be the national bird. It’s bad enough we lost out to the bald eagle, but now to make matters worse, our consolation prize has become the annual Turkey Pardon, where politicians stage a photo op to spare one lucky bird, while giving the quiet nod to the executioner for the rest of us.
Never was this travesty more apparent than last week when Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin gave a folksy pardon to a turkey at a Wasilla farm, while in the background another unlucky bird was meeting a grisly death by means of a meat grinder.
Turkey Day, you call it. Really? And what is it exactly you do on Mother’s Day? I really don’t even want to know.
I’m just going to lay low this holiday at Cold Spring Village, in Lower Township. Here, I’m a bit of a celebrity, but once the summer crowds clear, I rule the roost. There’s lots of room, shelter from the weather, and plenty to eat. And best of all there’s not a hunter in site. Plus, I’ve most mostly made peace with my neighbors, the chattering chickens.
The staff here does a lot of presentations on the skills and hardships that were ever-present in the lives of early American settlers, but luckily turkey slaughter is not a popular activity among tourists. (In fact, I find that people mostly prefer not to know where their food comes from.)
So I guess from where I sit, things aren’t so bad after all. You might even say I’m thankful.
That doesn’t mean, however, that I’ve forgotten about my less fortunate brethren, and with them in mind I make this appeal: perhaps, it is time to reconsider the “traditional” Thanksgiving feast.
As it turns out, the first settlers and the Native Americans might not have eaten turkey at that first meal at all. According to Edward Winslow in “A Journal of the Pilgrims at Plymouth,” wild fowl was served at that now-famous meal in 1621, but historians agree, it is just as likely that the settlers chowed on geese, ducks, cranes, swans, partridges, and my personal favorite, eagles. (Ben Franklin was right, by the way, when he said the bald eagle is a fowl of “bad moral character.”)
Winslow also wrote that the original Thanksgiving feast included venison meat from five deer, and if you are adventurous enough to try that, why not reinvent the holiday tradition in honor of America’s last frontier and prepare Governor Palin’s recipe for caribou or moose chili.
Or better yet, since “change’ is in vogue this year, take a pledge to abandon your carnivorous heritage with a modern, vegetarian dinner of prepackaged Tofurkey or your own homemade tofu turkey loaf. No one is quite sure what is in those specialties, but the same could be said for hot dogs and orange Mac and Cheese…and what’s more American than that?

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