This morning I turned the corner at the busy intersection of Franklin and Seymour in Prospect Park (my neighborhood) and startled a wild turkey.
Now I understand that those living far from Minneapolis/St. Paul may be inclined to imagine that the entire state of Minnesota is a National Park and/or farms. Contrary to fallacious coastal constructions of the Upper Midwest the Twin Cities are indeed a metropolis, and my neighborhood is not suburban. Our home is near downtown Minneapolis (view from the park's water tower, also known as the Witch's Hat).
Although this isn't my first turkey sighting on a local stroll, it still surprised me.
I don't know how the turkeys got into our neighborhood. Most likely someone set them loose in the park and now they wander through the streets foraging and apparently thriving.
Turkeys are fascinating birds. They move with surprising grace and silence. Gobbles are warbling, low and sonorous. I find it comforting to have something wild make unexpected appearances in my quotidian urban life.
Benjamin Franklin wanted turkeys to have the honor of being the United States' national bird rather than the bald eagle.
Would this decision have caused a ruckus around Thanksgiving? Maybe. Maybe not.
If we'd take a page from Buffy the Vampire Slayer it might make the entire holiday more interesting. In Season 4 "Pangs" Willow and Buffy decide that they'll skip Thanksgiving because the holiday is politically incorrect (they're right, it totally is. Incidentally, I use this episode to teach my students about the problems with mainstream depictions of indigenous histories). Here is Anya's (a sassy ex-demon) response:
Anya: Well I think that's a shame. I love a ritual sacrifice.
Buffy: Not really a one of those.
Anya: To commemorate a past event you kill and eat an animal. It's a ritual sacrifice. With pie.
Zazzle even has a t-shirt to honor this unforgettable exchange.