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The Perfect Thanksgiving Morning!

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By James Geneau

What a great morning.  I love Eastern Ontario!  Where else could you wake up at 8:00am, perk your coffee, and sit outside on the back porch enjoying the crisp air and the beautiful Fall leaves around you.  That's what I did this morning.  It was perfect.  But then, it got even better.

As I was sitting in the cool fall air as the sun started to warm the back-yard with its rays, I heard rustling coming from the bushes.  One by one, our friendly family of Wild Turkeys started to appear, all five of them.  Single file, one after another, they congregated on the lawn to pick at grubs and other buffet items having paraded around the ground the night before.  Almost scripted, an arrow of honking Canada Geese suddenly appeared over the horizon and passed directly overhead a few seconds later.  If a deer and a family of rabbits had decided to join the party I would have probably double-checked the coffee to see if it was Irish.  It was that perfect a morning!

But back to the Wild Turkeys.  They are silly creatures to watch.  We have one we call "Limpy".  He clearly injured himself halfway through the summer and since then he has had a bit of a hobble about him as he follows the rest of his gang each morning through the back yard.  It is hard to imagine that these very birds would be considered dinner only a few hours later.  I always thought that I could never eat one of our daily backyard guests, especially "Limpy".  I always preferred to see my dinner the old-fashioned way, fresh from the butcher with no signs of a personality.  I imagine many people feel the same way. 

Watching them go about their business, happy and content, made me think about the Turkey I would be enjoying later in the day.  I certainly hope it had as pleasant a life before being drenched in gravy with a side of cranberry sauce as my backyard friends.  Hanging out with friends, eating fresh grubs, and exploring the woods as a family.  I can do my best to buy a Turkey from an organic supplier promising to raise their birds humanely, but not everyone takes the same steps to ensure they are doing the right thing. 

As I was thinking about this, I heard gun shots being fired in the distance.  Was the gun being aimed at someone's Thanksgiving dinner?  Was this a cruel and brutal act?  I reflected on this and thought no, not if it was one of my friends in the backyard.  They had lived a full life and were happy.  They had an ample supply of food and were free to roam wherever their heart desired.  It was then that I realized that not all of my food had lived such a happy existence and that the act of a hunter to feed their family was probably a better option for a Turkey than having spent 6 months being plumped up in a caged space eating corn.

I still could not point a gun at "Limpy".  But I value the sacrifice he would make to feed a family.  After all, he lived a good life and enjoyed it while alive - even with a wounded leg.  And if a family chose to eat him after his over 12 months of happiness, it meant one less Turkey being held captive in solitary confinement waiting for the day he would die.  Luckily, he was spared by hanging out in our backyard and I will see him again tomorrow.  He will never be on my dinner plate and the only stuffing he is going to get will be from the breadcrumbs I left out for them this evening.  Ahh, the life of a Wild Eastern Ontario Turkey.  Well, those that happen to hang out at my place anyways.

Happy Holidays Everyone! 

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