An obituary for the Thanksgiving turkey
Your Thanksgiving turkey, the prince of poultry, the darling of dinner tables and the centerpiece of your holiday spread, has died (obviously). It was probably around four months old.
It left behind drumsticks, giblets, a gizzard and was preceded in death by untold numbers of other turkeys extinguished in the long-held tradition of holiday carnivorousness.
Your turkey shuffled off this fowl coil before it ever had to witness the president formally pardon Bread and Butter, a pair who will now live out their days at Virginia Tech’s Gobblers Rest retirement pen for very important turkeys.
Your turkey did not enjoy the fleeting national fame or overnight luxury hotel stay that a presidential pardon provides. Your turkey probably didn’t even have an unimaginative food-inspired name. It may not have had a name at all.
But your turkey almost certainly did not die alone. The average turkey farmer in Minnesota, the top turkey producer in the US, raises three flocks a year with 15,000 birds in each flock.
In its free time, your turkey may have been a music enthusiast. Or, it could have been deeply aggressive like its wild brethren, who regularly terrorize neighborhoods and have been known to attack cars with especially reflective surfaces.
Your turkey didn’t live long, but take heart in knowing that wild ones don’t live long either. Four years is the older end of a wild turkey’s lifespan. Hopefully, yours enjoyed whatever time it had on this earth.
Your turkey was born into a world determined to devour it. If your turkey had not been reared on a turkey farm, it would’ve had to thwart hunters and spar with fellow birds for resources. Regardless of what end it met, your turkey was likely destined for a brief life.
Your turkey might be in your fridge or freezer or an aisle of your grocery store, if you waited this long to purchase it. Its cavernous chest will soon be home to a chicken-stuffed duck or shredded loaves of bread tossed with more turkey. Your turkey, whether fried or brined or roasted, will hold court at the center of a table full of family and friends.
Your turkey might even kindle greater joy — and fuller tummies — as an entree than it would have in life.