Monday, September 29, 2014

My great neighbor and his pet turkey Dirk

Glenn, my neighbor across the railroad tracks, is one of the reasons I can love North Carolina. Both my other close neighbors have sued me but Glenn more than makes up for them.

I first met him when I bought some land-locked acres, logged atrociously and grown up like a jungle, between my place and his. He came roaring up to my front door on his ATV with his little daughter in front of him, introduced himself and explained: he'd lived across from this land all his life and would keep an eye out for vandals and poachers.

Over time he's helped so often, cutting trees that fall over my paths, planting chufa for the wild turkeys we both hope will come back to live here some day. Recently he hauled away a deer one of my evil neighbors had complained about: it just up and died on the border between our properties and this yuppie emailed me -- "Haul it away!"

What would you do if someone told you to haul away a deer? I called Glenn, and even though it was raining cats and dogs he came on his ATV (with his daughter, in her foul weather gear, because she'll never be parted from him) and, with a scary dog barking and snarling at him for removing this delicious feast, he tied that deer to his ATV and hauled it away somewhere the vultures could recycle it.

His girl loves to be outside with him. She rode this trailer full of turkey oaks when he brought them and planted them for me where huge, beautiful trees had once stood. Their poor little trunks were feeble as reeds but over the last year they've bulked up a bit.

So now are you wondering about that turkey in his lap? Here is, more or less, the story he told:

He has a buddy in Chatham County who "wants to be country so bad." This buddy hatched a bunch of Heritage Bronze turkeys but a raccoon got them all but one, this one. So this turkey became a pet and lived in the house with the buddy and the buddy's daughters (I astutely guessed correctly there was no mom in this house).

This turkey took to roaming the neighborhood and one day he stuck his head in some lady's car to see her kid in the car seat and the lady came back from wherever she'd stepped off to, saw the turkey, and had a cow. She called animal control and what with one thing and another, the turkey had to relocate, and Glenn offered to adopt him.

Glenn texted me: the turkey, whose name is Dirk, is very curious. "Dirk may wander out your way so now you know where to bring him back." (Superman, the miniature horse I gave to Glenn's daughter, is an escape artist and has been known to wander back here to his old haunts, no doubt in search of imagined treats, perhaps next time they'll come together.)

His text continued: "I plan on getting Dirk a girlfriend." His wife is not so keen on all this but she is tolerant. His next plan: to get some wild turkey eggs and hatch them. I asked how's he going to raise them right? Without a mother to teach them not to be stupid won't they walk right into raccoons' mouths? I suggested he get a turkey suit and go out in the woods with them and point out the dangers. To be continued some day...


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