Wednesday, November 24, 2010
Pardon Me -- Please? ...
Thomas T. "Tommy" Turkey here ... I'm gonna cut right to the chase ... a while back, that whinin' complainer Jack O' Lantern was cryin' the blues about how punkins are murdered and mistreated in the precedin' days leadin' up to and includin' Halloween ... well Jack ought to try livin' the life and dyin' the death of an American turkey ... then Jack would have somethin' to complain about ... we turkeys endure mistreatment and mayhem year round, not just durin' the holidays ... we get no respect even though we been around as long as those punkins have ... we was livin' here in America long before Columbus and them Pilgrims landed on that rock and discovered America ... that's when the trouble began ... when them Pilgrims showed them Native Indians how to prepare us turkeys, along with some dressin' and gravy in exchange for some sweet taters and corn, life was never again the same for the American turkey ... I reckon that feast was necessary to prevent those Indians from scalpin' those Pilgrims, and to prevent those Pilgrims from shootin' those Indians, I ain't really sure ... but us turkeys got the short end of that stick!
Are you aware that at one time us turkeys and those bald eagles was both considered as America's national symbols? ... back then, Benjamin Franklin was really pullin' for us turkeys ... he thought even though we was silly and vain, we was a better choice for the national symbol than those "cowardly" bald eagles ... well I think so too ... them Pilgrims and them Native Indians could just as easily have had roasted bald eagle for that Thanksgivin' feast, along with bald eagle dressin' and bald eagle gravy ... and so should you people ... besides, those bald eagles are much better lookin' than us turkeys ... not as dry and probably tastier too ... each year durin' Thanksgiven' alone, nearly 50 million of us birds are murdered, cooked and consumed ... and another 250 million of us meet with the very same fate durin' the rest of the year ... a travesty indeed!
Each year since 1947, the National Turkey Federation and the Poultry and Egg National Board have given one of us turkeys to the President of the United States at a White House ceremony ... since then, presidents have been more likely to eat us rather than grant a reprieve ... one notable exception occurred in 1963, when President Kennedy, referring to the turkey given to him, said, "Let's just keep him" ... it wasn't until the first Thanksgivin' of President George H.W. Bush, in 1989, that a turkey was officially pardoned for the first time.
Presidents Bill "Slick Willy" Clinton and George "Dubya" Bush have continued the turkey pardons begun under the first ol' Bush ... some confusion about the true origin of this practice has crept into recent presidential speeches ... one story claims that Harry Truman pardoned a turkey called "Veep" given to him in 1947, but the Truman Library has been unable to find any evidence of this ... another story claims the tradition dates back to Abraham Lincoln pardoning his son Tad's pet turkey "Hannibal" ... what's certain is that since 1989 a turkey -- and its alternate -- have been pardoned each year ... an alternate is chosen just in case the first bird is unable to perform its duties, as if that's going to happen! ... for fifteen years through 2004, the pardoned turkeys were given to Kidwell Farm, a petting zoo at Frying Pan Park in Herndon, Virginia ... those fortunate turkeys would receive a last minute pardon before arriving, and were then led to their new home at the Turkey Barn after enduring a turkey "roast" full of poultry humor and history ... in 2005 and 2006, however, the turkeys were flown to Disneyland in California where they served as honorary grand marshals for Disneyland's Thanksgivin' Day parade ... after that, they spent the rest of their lives at a Disneyland ranch ... a spot in sunny Disneyland seems immensely preferable to a place called Frying Pan Park if you happen to be one of us turkeys who has just escaped from becoming the main course of somebody's Thanksgivin' feast.
Last year, 2009, my cousins "Courage" and "Carolina" avoided the fryer ... in 2008, President Bush gave two of my cousins, "Pumpkin" and "Pecan," a last-minute reprieve ... they both hailed from Ellsworth, Iowa, and were raised under the most pleasant of environments ... back then, the American public was allowed to vote for their favorite turkeys on the White House web site ... durin' 2007, my uncle "May" and aunt "Flower" were both spared ... in 2006, grandpa "Flyer" and grandma "Fryer" escaped the roasting pot ... back in 2005 my sister "Marshmallow" and my brother "Yam" were permitted to see many more sunrises ... and way back durin' 2004, both of my parents, "Biscuit" and "Gravy" were sent back to the roost ... we sure have been a lucky family!
So, Mister President, durin' this upcomin' Thanksgivin' season ... don't you think it's about time for some real "Change!?" ... let my people go! ... grant a presidential pardon to of us turkeys!! ... and especially -- pardon me -- please?? ... gobble! - gobble! ... gobble! - gobble!! - gobble!!!
UPDATE: 2010 marks the 63rd anniversary of the National Thanksgiving Turkey Presentation ... unfortunately, Tommy Turkey lost his bid for a last-minute Thanksgiving pardon ... his cousins "Apple" and "Cider" were mercifully selected by President Obama instead ... however, because of the sour economy, neither bird will be going to Disney Land, rather both will live out their remaining days on the grounds of George Washington's Mount Vernon Estate ... a much better fate than that of Tommy ... may he baste in peace!