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The Great Turkey Debate

John W. Pinkerton


About the time I think peace has descended upon our little community of Somerville, another controversy rears its ugly head.   We survived a serial bond elections, a hotly contested mayorial race, the continuing pot hole bruhaha, and the moving of our Dollar General Store to a new location, but I'm not sure we'll make it through this controversy without damage…the great wild turkey debate.

One parttime resident has found the city to be amiss in its tolerance of  the wild turkeys which roam our streets.  It seems that the turkeys are destroying her efforts to “Make Somerville Beautiful” by eating the flowers in her yard.  I have no doubt as to the veracity of her assertion  although it could be our herds of deer which come into town in the evenings and through the nights to pick the roses…well, all blossums from their stems.  Deer may look cute and innocent, but they are known to tell terrible lies about their neighbors seldom taking responsibility for their own actions.

Now, this part time resident is no stranger to Somerville; she was born and reared and schooled in Somerville, but like many, she had moved on to the bright lights of the big city, and like many, she has returned to Somerville in her golden years.  I'm sure that when she was a youth here there were no deer, or guineas, or turkeys roaming the streets---undoubtedly a kinder, gentler time. 

She shared her concerns on Facebook…a mistake many have made.  Although she gained some sympathetic responses, others were not so inclined.  It seems that generally the turkeys  could easily be elected to one of the town's official governmental positions without much opposition.

As I implied, her Facebook posting did reveal the dark side of some folks.  One respondent  suggested that she knew where her next Thanksgiving turkey would be supplied.  Another suggested shooting the turkeys would be an appropriate response.  The depravity of humans once again reveals itself.

The great turkey debate had an innocent beginning.  I recall while Linda and I were conducting our weekly inspection of the community which involves a slow drive through the 'ville at a pace of about five miles per hour, I found myself unexpectedly staring eye to eye at a great tom.  He seemed to be taking stock of me, and we soon moved on needing to finish our inspection and, I must admit, because I could not stand up to the judgmental gaze of the tom.  For the next two weeks the lone tom roamed the streets of Somerville and was the talk of the Dairy Queen, churches, and bars. 

Then to everyone's surprise, other turkeys were accompanying our lone turkey.  The conjecture was that the original turkey was a scout who was sent ahead of the gang or rafter to determine if the community was safe for the turkeys.  The big tom must have determined that the locals had no evil in their hearts (an obvious miscalculation) and convinced the others to follow. 

It's surprising how these turkeys have flourished here.  The gang now includes many little turkeys following the momma turkeys through town.

Linda and I enjoy seeing them when we find them in our yard or when we make our weekly inspections of the town.  Occasionally we'll find it necessary to stop and wait for them to cross a street, but that seems a small price to pay for companionship of these handsome birds.

Frankly, I'm always a little surprised when anyone decides to make Somerville their residence.  It's reassuring to find that it's not just Linda and I who think it's a grand place to live.