I wrote this in 2009 in my blog from that era that no longer exists. Back then, when I lived closer to my immediate family (in Illinois) I would have them for Thanksgiving. I always tried to buy a farm raised turkey at the local farmers market. Each year I gave my turkey a name working my way through the alphabet. This was the third year, hence the name “Cecil” Enjoy:
Dignity. That is what I say when people ask me why I named my turkey. My Thanksgiving Turkey that is. OK, I sound a little possessive. But it’s true that once one places a down payment on a turkey at a farmer’s market one feels as though the turkey belongs to them. I wonder if they put a little name tag on the turkey that says, “Marty’s Turkey” just in case I wanted to go out and visit with him. I think and hope it’s a him.
Anyway, my turkey is a good turkey, or at least I imagine him to be. Oh, and forgot to tell you that my turkey’s name is Cecil That’s right, Cecil. Last year my Turkey’s name was Boris, and the year before, Anton. Anton and Boris were very big specimens.Anton was a huge bird, 27 pounds of all-American poultry. I like to imagine that Anton, Boris and now Cecil lived a pretty good life. They probably ran around the turkey pen, gobbling and eating little grubs and worms and seeds on the ground. The good farmers that raised Cecil probably gave him plenty of other things to eat that made him big, fat and juicy.
I’m thinking Cecil had some friends in the turkey pen. Maybe some other turkeys’ that were spoken for by other people from Bloomington-Normal. There was one that had a name tag that said “Mike’s Turkey” or “John’s Turkey”. There was probably a “Molly”s Turkey and “Julie’s Turkey”. Maybe since they all knew they were turkeys the tags just said “Molly’s” or “Marty’s”. The turkeys probably had a name tag similar to the type one wears at a Chamber of Commerce mixer. Do turkeys network? Do the ask each other, “So how’s everything down at your place. You folks feeling the pinch of this downturn?” Or, “Did you see the market today, the Dow gained 400 points after loosing 450 yesterday!” Do turkeys really care?
I must admit that imagining what a turkey might say to each other is a little bit of fun, but probably they are merely wondering how long they have before they are snatched up by farmer Jones and whisked away for a throat slitting and hot steamy bath to get rid of those pesky feathers. Do turkey’s go to heaven?
I am glad that Cecil gave his life so that on Thanksgiving (don’t ever call it “turkey day” in my presence) we could stuff ourselves with a ton of his flesh, stuffing, corn casserole, mashed potatoes, and all types of other goodies. I really do love Thanksgiving the best. There is only one goal in mind at Thanksgiving. That is to eat, take a nap, watch football, and maybe take a walk in the brisk air. There are no pressures to make sure the gifts are right for everyone, there are no problems if guests or friends are invited, and everyone is the most relaxed they will be the entire year. Right after the Thanksgiving holiday is when the pressure of Christmas starts. Gift buying, malls, and the worry if you have given enough.
Cecil is in my fridge right now. Occasionally, I stick my head in there and see how he is doing. Farmer Jones shoved him in the freezer right after he eviscerated him, so I have a feeling Cecildidn’t appreciate being treated this way. For what? Being a good turkey, not running away? Is this the kind of respect he gets? Well, now I have to defrost him and like I said, I stick my head in the fridge give a little pat on the back and try to build up his self esteem.
Cecil, we will raise a glass to you, and thank you for the ultimate sacrifice you have made for us. You were a good turkey when you were alive, and you will be better still, roasted to a safe temperature of 170 degrees internally in the thickest part of your thigh! Hail thee Cecil, your dignity is intact, you have served thee well!!