Dad and the Turkey

I thought you would appreciate hearing this fun story from Louisiana.

One gorgeous Carnival morning last week, Mom and I went for a run through Audobon Park. Halfway through, we stopped near the pond where we may (or may not, this might be a legal gray area) have scattered some of Dad’s ashes. The pond is usually the home of ducks and seagulls and egrets, and that’s what we expected to see as we walked up. Also typically, both of us got choked up as we approached the spot, where, on this morning, two little girls were scattering bread to the birds. They were more or less surrounded by the birds– except for one. One lone bird ignored the free food, choosing instead to stand by itself about ten feet away– right where Dad’s ashes were (or weren’t) scattered a few years ago.

And it was a turkey. A TURKEY.

I have never seen a freaking live turkey in Audobon Park in my life. Look– they’re not even on the list of native birds to the park.

By the time we got to the turkey (a turkey! In the middle of New Orleans!), Mom and I were no longer choked up. Instead we were almost laughing from the ludicrousness. That turkey remained at Dad’s spot, as if waiting for us to arrive. As soon as we did, it moved off with hilarious dignity, to get its share of bread from the girls, who immediately approached my mother. “Would you like to throw some bread?” they asked. And so Mom– who is always a magnet for little kids, they always know she’s a kindred spirit– threw bread to the turkey, while we chatted with them and with their grandmother. The kids were telling us all about how they plot to get the best throws at parades: “We just yell out names,” they told us. “That way, sometimes someone will have that name and think we know them.” Their grandmother nodded.

“They try to use common names,” she said. “They yell, ‘Uncle Ron! Uncle Ron!'”

Now, I don’t know how common the name Ron is around you, but I’m pretty sure the answer is “not very.”

Mom and I spent a good twenty minutes at Dad’s spot that morning, and they weren’t sad minutes. Instead, it was fun and funny and “Oh my God, did they just say ‘Ron’?” and “Is that… is that a turkey?” And when we walked away, I told my mom that Dad had pulled out all the stops that morning. Some families find pennies from their loved ones, others see signs in clouds in the sky….. but Dad goes with turkeys.

That sounds about right.


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