Tommy woke up and stretched. He loved the smell of the crisp Fall air. The low sun on the southern horizon had just peeked over the edge of the forest. Tommy smiled to himself, “Even the sun prefers to wake up slow in the cool air.” He looked over at Jerry who was still asleep. Jerry was always a heavy sleeper. Tommy gave him a shove, “Wake up lazy! It’s morning.”
Jerry wobbled and stretched. “Take it easy Tom. I had a late night.” Tommy left Jerry with his morning grumpiness and walked across the wet green grass. The dew was cold on his feet. The bare trees that framed Tom’s view had only a few remaining leaves on them. Brown wrinkled holdouts that refused to let go of their branches, even though they had long since died off. The freshly cleared two-acre field sat with a short dark green carpet of field grasses.
Tommy walked out into the middle of the field and let the cold morning envelope his body. The brisk air brought a smile to his face, and he let out a shiver. How he loved the fresh air. The crunching of grass behind him broke the stillness. Tommy looked over and saw Jerry wobbling out. His face scowled, and his eyes squinted at the sun that peeked above the tree line. “Come on Jerry. The early bird gets the worm!”
Jerry stopped walking and glared at Tommy. “That’s just a stupid expression. There aren’t any worms this time of year.”
Tommy danced over to Jerry. “I know, but the grass is delicious!” Tommy reached down and put a mouthful in his beak and swallowed.
His snood shook in delight. “Come on Jerry; you’ll feel better if you eat. Don’t you want to be as big and plump as I am?”
Jerry reached down and swallowed a mouthful of tender green blades. “There, I ate something. This stuff won’t make me as big as you. You’re just bigger because Darla gives you extra food when she feeds us at night. I feel like the stepchild anymore. ”
Tommy rubbed his beak on Jerry’s neck. “Don’t be like that. Look at you. You’re not skinny. Lucius even says so. Every day I hear him coming out here talking about how plump and juicy you look.”
Jerry gobbled. “Don’t try to make me feel better. Lucius says you’re still the favorite.”
The turkeys heard the familiar sound of the farm truck on the gravel road. Both of them ran for the barn. It was morning feeding time. Tommy was surprised to see both Darla and Lucius get out of their faded red pickup truck. It must be a special day. Only one of them had brought food previously. To Tommy both humans were giants. Darla had black hair and wore her usual jeans, but today she had on a blue plaid flannel shirt to guard against the cold. Lucius had on his coveralls. He was not carrying his feed sack. He had an ax. Tommy guessed they were out of firewood.
“Ma, you take Tom and give him the treats you brought along for him. Jerry and I are goin’ for a walk over yonder at the woodpile.”
“Tom looked at Jerry. You see, you’re Lucius’ favorite. Quit being so glooming. They care about you too.”
Lucius walked over to the turkeys. “Tom, you’re lucky you’re Ma’s favorite, or you’d be comin’ with me.” He grabbed Jerry by the neck and then picked him up by his body. “Come on Jerry. We have some work to do. You’re gonna be joinin’ the folks for dinner.”
“Dinner!” Tommy felt indignant. “Why can’t I go!?”
Darla walked over to Tommy and opened a container she held in her hand. “Look what I have for you. Fresh worms I got from the bait shop. Don’t worry boy. We won’t ever have you for dinner. Lucius knows better than to cross me.”
Over near the woodpile, Tommy thought he heard Jerry yell and then the thud of Lucius cutting wood. Tommy stopped eating out of the container and thought, “I hope Jerry didn’t get hit by a piece of wood.”
Darla rubbed his feathers. “Don’t worry boy. He didn’t feel a thing. Jerry won’t be coming back, but I have a special treat for you tomorrow. We are bringing you a girlfriend. Lucius doesn’t like me making a pet out of you, but I think the two of you may nest together and make us some future dinner guests.”
“A girlfriend, future dinner guests! I guess I am the favorite after all!” Tommy pushed up against Darla to show his approval. He enjoyed his time with her until they were interrupted by Lucius heavy farm boots.
“Alright, Ma. It’s done. I still think its ridiculous, you makin’ over that fowl.”
Darla rose up. Tommy looked over, and he noticed some blood on Lucius’ coveralls. He hoped Lucius was not hurt seriously. Darla walked over and took Lucius’ hands. “Now Pa, you know how happy Tommy makes me. You want me happy don’t you?” She gave Lucius a long kiss.
“Alright Ma, you know how to wrap me around your pretty finger. Well, Tom, I guess we’ll see if turkeys can lay golden eggs. Have a happy Thanksgiving.”
Darla tossed the remaining container of worms out towards the field. Tommy trotted in their direction. He felt very pleased with himself. “Today is the best day ever.” Behind him, he heard the old pickup startup and slowly turn around and head down the gravel driveway.