I just happened to be at our farm around noon on Thursday. I had come to get the 3/4-inch drill bit I use to drill holes for tomato stakes.
Jenifer met me just outside the carport because Bubba, our Lab mix, was scratching on the carport door. Bubba has scratched on the front door and back door at night wanting to come in, but he has never scratched on the carport door in the middle of the day.
Jenifer thinks Bubba was trying to tell her something was wrong with Tom Turkey, and I tend to agree.
Bubba and Tom were not friends. Most of the time, Tom harassed Bubba, and Bubba harassed Tom infrequently. They sparred occasionally. But over the years, I think they respected each other.
It was just odd that I happened to be home and Jenifer came out of the house because of Bubba’s scratching, and we both saw Tom close his eyes.
Jenifer said Tom had just followed her from the greenhouse to the house, as he always did, 10 minutes before.
He found a shady spot, lay down, and flew to turkey heaven.
Tom Turkey’s obituary
Tom was a Narragansett out of flock turkeys we got in March 2004, so Tom was 9 years old. We had 20-some Narragansett and 20-some bourbon reds.
We had a roost area set up for these heritage birds and we shut them up at night, but during the day they roamed the farm.
Ellie is in ninth grade now, but she was in first grade when we had that flock. One day she was walking down the driveway with her purple book bag and all the turkeys started following her. They all ended up on our back porch. Ten minutes later, they were all in the woodline 200 yards away.
Every evening Jenifer and I and 3-year-old Levi and 5-year-old Ellie would have to go find the turkeys and walk them back to their secure roosting area.
On the Monday before Thanksgiving in 2004, we decided we wanted to not butcher one of the turkeys and have it around for Ellie and Levi.
The first turkey I pulled out of the pen that fateful day ran right back inside. The second was Tom. He started strutting and did not quit until the end.
Jenifer is digging a hole for him between the two dogwood trees beside the greenhouse where he liked to hang out in the summer.