The Lucky Limper
Two years ago at the annual spring poultry swap, I bought three tom turkeys from the back of some guy's pickup truck. They were lifted from a large dog crate in his pickup and placed into a crate in the back of mine. We shook hands, I handed over the cash, and headed home to Cold Antler three turkeys richer. I never thought to ask the seller if the turkeys could walk.
When I got home and let Bob and the boys out into their new home (I named the others Lucas and Brendon, after my pal Tom's best friends) I noticed one of the birds could barely walk. He was the handsomest of the trio, his body big and feathers bright. Yet he could barely drag his body across the farmyard? Seeing no tangled string and feeling no broken bones, I assumed he strained it or had broken it. It made sense to me, that someone was trying to sell a bum bird, no questions asked. I decided if he didn't turn around and heal soon I'd eat him. Harsh, but hey, this is farm country. I wasn't about to call the vet for a twenty dollar turkey I could turn into 14 meals!
So Bob limped about, much slower than the high stepping Brendon and Lucas. But every day he seemed a little better, the limp became much less of a hop and more of a saunter. Come Thanksgiving time he was still limping, and on that rainy and cold morning of slaughter, he just seemed too dang pathetic to eat. Brendon became the meal for a dozen people instead (Lucas stayed to be a breeding Tom) and I figured he could be the Yule meal if he healed by then.
Yule came and we had ham and lamb. Bob Fedell was just too much like Tiny Tim, sad and needing a crutch. Or he was swaggering around like a drunk. At this point he was totally fine, despite the limping, and his molted feathers came in better than ever. I still didn't eat him. And now it has been two years and while his leg has healed up a lot since those first few weeks here, he has never had full mobility. He follows Lucas and the new birds, roosts in the barn on the ground hay, and is the eldest turkey I will probably ever own.
So that is Bob Fedell's story. He will not be eaten, at least not by me. He hops around and looks shabby, but don't let him fool you. He knows his bum leg is the reason he stays out of the oven and surrounded by a harem of new turkey ladies. Bob is here to stay. He's the luckiest, gimpy, turkey in the whole dang state! And next time you sprain an ankle or loose your high stepping, think about this: You may end up old surrounded by young women and endless corn. Life could be worst!