Gobble, gobble! It’s Turkey Day! Now, some of you may know this day as Thanksgiving while others of you may think of it as Shop-Till-You-Drop-Eve, but in Cratersville, where I grew up, this day was the day we celebrated turkeys. It wasn’t always this way. Let me explain.
Cratersville, being an iconville loosely based on the 1950s vision of what the future would be, originally celebrated Turkey Day much as the iconic American holiday it was based on. Thus, the day was spent cooking and watching football on TV, which left a majority of denizens in Cratersville somewhat perplexed since we didn’t normally watch 20th-century American football or bake green bean casserole with those little fried onions thingies on top.
What was closer to our hearts, however, were the aspects of the day that centered around family time and getting ready for the upcoming Holly Days. The most holiday-hungry among us would put up their Winter Wish trees on this day. This, of course, was after the turkey day feast was eaten with great relish right around 4:00 p.m.
Being vegetarians, my sister Poppy and I would give a wide berth to the basted centerpiece hogging the center of the table, sticking instead to the turkey-free stuffing (made just for us), mashed potatoes with butter and the mysterious green bean casserole. One year though, our personal tastes were foisted upon the citizenry at large in a surprisingly unforeseen way.
Our family was getting ready to go over to the “blues” house. It was called the blues house because Blueberry and Bluebell Fields were our best friends in Cratersville, and their parents were best friends of our parents, which kind of made us an extended family when we all got together. Anyway, like I said, we were getting ready to go over to the blues house when Poppy and I got into this conversation about turkeys, and how nice it would be if people didn’t eat them. We were young and idealistic. We should have known, however, that such a wish would not be overlooked by the Magic, especially since we were doodling in our Creation Books at the time.
Everything seemed okay as we got into the starcar and headed towards the town proper. Anyone who’s been to Cratersville realizes quite quickly that the founders of the town were of two minds when they selected the decorum and style by which the town would be run. This was why we always found ourselves driving into the “historic” part of town where tree-lined streets and small shops provided tourists with a taste of Norman Rockwell Americana. Few of us actually lived in the postcard perfect town, preferring instead the quirky futuristic Jetson-style buildings on the outskirts of the city.
Poppy and I glanced out the car windows as we zipped over the flat desert land. Water-filled craters bubbled below us like witches cauldrons. We weren’t flying low enough to see if anything was “brewing” below. We glanced at each other and crossed our fingers knowing that if the Magic were to play imp that afternoon, its creation of choice would emerge from one of the gurgling pots of elixir below.
This was only a theory mind you, and since no one else knew about the Magic or the little creatures we created with its help, we couldn’t go about asking for other people’s opinions on the matter.
We arrived at the blues house, hopes still high for an uneventful afternoon. As our family stood on the front porch, covered dishes in our hands, Poppy and I heard a noise behind us. Our eyes went wide as we turned around. Just then, the door opened and loud greetings were exchanged, allowing Poppy to swing into action. She shoved the foil-wrapped pie she had been holding into my hands and rustled the intruder off to the side of the house.
“Where’s Poppy?” Mrs. Fields asked. My parents turned to stare at me. Being well practiced at putting on a show for the purpose of misdirection, I delivered a line that Poppy, if she was listening, would overhear.
“She’s gathering a bouquet for you Mrs. Fields. We were hoping it would be a surprise.” I smiled.
My parents raised their eyebrows. Frosty November was not exactly the best time to find a patch of pickable petals, but I was betting that Mrs. Fields’ green thumb would provide some sort of fodder for Poppy’s imagination. I just hoped she didn’t mind receiving trimmings from her own garden as a hostess gift.
Poppy must have had the same misgivings as I, for when she came running up with a gathering of autumn-hued blooms I could sense their magical origins. To Mrs. Fields though, it was the thought that mattered most, and even if she suspected the flowers might be gone before dawn, she accepted the bouquet, handing out thanks and praise to the both of us. Sometimes being the daughters of a magician had its perks. Our parents, on the other hand, weren’t as amused, knowing that something else must surely be afoot to deserve such an obvious show.
Once inside, Poppy and I searched out Blueberry and Bluesy (she hated being called Bluebell), quickly filling them in on the situation outside. Poppy, sure as ever about herself, swore she had everything under control.
When we were called to dinner though, it was quite clear that we were going to have a lot of explaining to do, for there perched at the head of a table was a very comical turkey wearing a hat. He was tucking into the cranberry sauce. He was holding a fork. He was not your ordinary turkey.
Our moms gasped when they caught sight of the unexpected guest. The Blues grandparents needed to sit down. Our dads, who were helping to carry out the platters and plates, stopped midstep.
Bluesy, well known animal rescuer and official co-conspirator in creative cover up stories, apparently saw possibility in the unfolding scene. “Mom! Dad! We need to talk!” she ushered all of the adults back into the kitchen. Leaving Blueberry, Poppy and me to watch as the turkey grazed his way around the table.
“Do we eat him?” Blueberry said. Even at thirteen he was known for being practical.
Poppy, being younger and more sensitive about such things, slugged Blueberry in the arm.
“Ouch! Jel, can you get your sister to stop hitting me.”
“No,” I said, “You deserved that one. You can’t eat him. He’s special.”
“He’d be more special if we baked and garnished him. Just say’n.” Blueberry dodged Poppy’s second attack, grabbing her in a bear hug. “Kidding Pops. You should do a better job tying him up next time.”
“I didn’t tie him up. I told him to stay put till after dinner. I promised I’d bring him out a piece of pie.”
“That’s what you get for trying to reason with a turkey.” Blueberry released Poppy. “What do you think she’s up to?” He jerked his thumb towards the kitchen.
“I’m orchestrating, Blue,” Bluesy announced, emerging from the kitchen. “Applause please!” She took a bow then proceeded to count off the concessions she had won. “I convinced them that the turkey was one of my rescues. I suggested they make some more side dishes. And I pleaded that they think twice before bringing out the main course if you get my drift.”
“What! No turkey!” Blueberry wined.
“Shh, Blue. You’ll upset the guest,” Bluesy said.
“I thought Jelly and her family were our guests.” Blueberry didn’t entertain frivolity well. “Anyway, I believe your guest has had his fill. No pun intended.” He pointed towards the table where the guest was passed out cold. “And I thought the turkey day snooze only worked on old people.” He shrugged.
We took the opportunity to remove the feathered guest from the table though Poppy still refused to tie him up. Bluesy, the rescue maven, checked him into her “rehab center” in the basement.
The rest of the evening was uneventful with Grandpa and Grandma Fields falling asleep on the couch in front of the TV. Surprisingly, no one said a word about the uninvited guest. Maybe everyone was just thankful that the strangeness was quickly subdued. Maybe they were too nervous to inquire about where the uninvited turkey had come from, though they certainly knew who to ask.
Over the next few days, Poppy and I fielded other reports of strange turkey sightings. None of the turkeys stayed around long enough to be questioned, so no one ever really knew where they had come from or where they were going. We laid all of the appearances on Bluesy’s doorstep. It’s amazing how much one “rescued” turkey could get around. Wink, wink.
I can also report that it wasn’t the last time that such an event would happen in the quirky little town of Cratersville. In fact, the sightings of comical turkeys increased every year while the consumption of baked and basted turkeys decreased. I’ll leave it up to you to decide if the Magic answered Poppy’s and my wish. I just wished it was a little less obvious.
—Jellybean Reds, Creator of Little Creatures
Jelly PS: No turkeys were harmed in the writing of this dispatch. I can’t say as much for the pumpkin pies!