Molly Ivins once said that some days were like waking up and finding Fidel Castro hiding in the refrigerator. Hard to know what to think.
Today was one of those days.
I leave the house fairly early on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the better to make it up to Not Quite So Far Away Campus in time for my class. It’s a fairly long drive, the nickname notwithstanding, and the weather around here has been tricky all semester – snow, driving rain, wind – so having a bit of extra time is good.
I also like to rehearse the class in my head as I drive. I’m a historian. I don’t have experiments or problem sets – all I have is a story. And when all you have to sell is a story, you have to get your transitions right.
So when I leave the house, then, it is early and I have quite a number of things on my mind. Add in the fact that I have yet to make any headway on the extra-large traveler’s mug of Yorkshire tea that is nestled in the change bin by my seat (being too large for the cupholders), and you have a general sense of the fog I am in.
This morning I backed out of my driveway, put the car into drive, and then glanced up at my front porch.
“That’s odd,” I thought. “Someone must have left me a package last night.”
But it didn’t look like a normal package. It was black, for one thing. It was also about two and a half feet tall, but only about eight inches wide.
And then it turned its head.
Here in Our Little Town there are any number of species of wildlife who live among us. Raccoons. Rabbits. Geese. The occasional deer.
And a vast and growing number of wild turkeys, one of whom had apparently decided to take shelter on my porch from the driving rain.
Suddenly, I’m living in my own WKRP In Cincinnati Thanksgiving episode.
I watched it for a while. It watched me. We watched each other, secure in the knowledge that each of us would likely be the strangest thing we saw that day, and each likely wrong on that count. This is America. If a giant bird on your porch is the strangest thing you see all day you’re probably not trying hard enough.
Eventually I left. When I got to the gas station, I called home – Kim and the girls were still getting ready to go to their various schools. “Go to the front door and open it very slowly and quietly,” I said. “There’s a turkey on the porch.”
Apparently they watched each other briefly, and then the door creaked a bit and the turkey hopped away into the neighbor’s yard.
It’s been most of the day now, and so far that turkey is still the strangest thing I’ve seen all day.
I need to try harder, I guess.
Apparently Tabitha took some video of our guest on her iPod.