My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

A Thanksgiving Tribute

The handsome fellow with me in this photo is the late Octavio, a hybrid turkey cared for since his "chickdom" by our vegan neighbors Steve and Jenny.

Many wild turkeys live around us and we see and hear them often, all year long, in flocks large and small as they wander the mountain meadows and our pasture, roost in the nearby Ponderosa pines, and occasionally strut haughtily up our driveway. The girls usually chatter quietly among themselves, while the boys like to puff themselves up and gobble in unison in reply to each rumble of summertime thunder. :-) (You can see and hear some of our wild turkey friends on last year's Thanksgiving post).

But the local wild turkeys who'd wander up to Steve and Jenny's place never accepted Octavio, a contented homebody who didn't like to venture far from Steve and Jenny's lovely property and loving care. He had their shady deck to sit on during hot summer days and their warm barn to stay snug in during the cold winter ones. He had their neighboring fields, and a pond in a small grove of trees, and his friend Chief (Steve and Jenny's gentle old dog) to keep him company.

And whenever he had the opportunity, he'd hang out with me. The photo was taken the day Octavio and I met, at one of Steve and Jenny's annual Labor Day weekend "Chokecherry Festivals" several years ago. Octavio, it seems, was instantly smitten. From the moment he spied me at the party he followed me everywhere, and whenever I'd show up at Steve and Jenny's after that, Octavio would come running and shadow me the entire time I was there. (Frankly, I think it was that shirt I was wearing when he first saw me that won his heart - along with the brightly colored embroidery, it had little mirrors on the trim. And I also always wore a silver ankle bracelet he was particularly keen on!) After following me around, when I'd sit down or stand still he'd settle at - or on - my feet and gently pluck at that ankle bracelet while telling me what was on his mind. His head and neck would turn from red to blue (like in the photo), which according to Steve and Jenny meant he was in courtship mode, so they laughingly referred to me as "his girlfriend." :-)

Octavio disappeared one summer night from his usual roosting spot by the porch, and Steve and Jenny think a fox may have gotten him. I prefer to think that Octavio finally met a wild turkey hen who made him forget all about me (men can be so fickle!), and ran off with her. :-) I miss sweet, silly, affectionate Octavio, and dedicate this Thanksgiving post to him, and to all the turkeys (and other non-human animals) whose point of view is so rarely considered.

Thanksgiving dinner's sad and thankless
Christmas dinner's dark and blue
When you stop and try to see it
From the turkey's point of view.

Sunday dinner isn't sunny
Easter feasts are just bad luck
When you see it from the viewpoint
Of a chicken or a duck.

Oh how I once loved tuna salad
Pork and lobsters, lamb chops too
Till I stopped and looked at dinner
From the dinner's point of view.

~Shel Silverstein
Where The Sidewalk Ends

Wishing everyone a very safe, peaceful and


  1. You look lovely & happy Laloo! I see the name has caught on!!

  2. (Sorry...too many typos in the last one...not that that usually stops me! lol)

    What a wonderful post Laurie! Octavio is so handsome, what a pretty shade of blue he is sporting for you! It's so touching he had a crush on you! His turkey love sounds so charming and I would love it! I hope your theory is the true one! I hope Octavio is living happily with a pretty wild turkey hen!

    I love your post from last year too! Wild turkeys are so graceful...I've seen them at my brother's place in Oregon...what a pleasure it must be to see them around on a regular basis.

    The Shel Silverstein poem is a good one! Here's hoping that more people will begin to think about other species as living feeling beings, whose lives are precious, rather than food!

    This is a lovely tribute to Octavio, and to the hopes for gentler, kinder times in the future.

    May you have a Gentle Thanksgiving too. :)

  3. Izzy ~ Thanks, Izzy! Though that photo is probably 7 or 8 years old now! But I'm still as happy most of the time, if not happier (and always happy to hear from you!) :-)

    Rose ~ LOL, you're as persnickity about that as I am! Though I must say, typos usually jump right out at me (other people's do anyway, my own are more stealthy and evasive, lol), but I noticed nary a one in your original post!

    Octavio was quite a striking fellow indeed, the Johnny Depp of gobblers. :-) I was flattered to get his besotted attention (everyone should get to be a turkey's puppy-love crush at least once!), but would be very glad to know that he's living happily ever after with a beautiful hen... perhaps the Angelina Jolie or Jennifer Anniston of turkey hens. :-)

    I'm so glad you love last year's Thanksgiving post too, and it sure is a real pleasure to enjoy the company of wild turkeys (and the other wild critters) regularly. Speaking of which, remember Punky the fawn? She's been around a lot for the past month after vanishing all summer, along with her pal Doodle (both are does, as it turns out). They are so funny, and Punky is just as adorable as ever! I'll need to get a photo of her when my hands won't freeze to the camera. ;-)

    Of course I share your fondness for the Shel Silverstein poem, as well as your hopes for increasing empathy and compassion for our fellow beings, and love the beautiful way you put it.

    Thankful as ever for your friendship, Rose... have a wonderful holiday! xoxo

  4. Shel Silverstein really captures life with his poem (I love his works) and as is true with so many things, if we just stop to consider another point of view or views we might see things very differently. Octavio is absolutely gorgeous! And how much fun it must have been to have him attach himself to you. I agree with Rose that this is a lovely tribute to Octavio and I too hope for a kinder, gentler future. Have a lovely Thanksgiving!

  5. What a ladies man that Octavio is, with his charm & looks! I just adore turkeys so much. We see flocks of them around here quite a bit, which is always exciting to us.

    I adore the poem and love this post. It's a beautiful tribute to Octavio. <3

    Happy holiday to you & the Laloofah clan, Laurie!

  6. Laloo -- Guess that is a name that I can use for you? I know that turkeys are the main fare on Thanksgiving tables but since I am a vegetarian I won't be having any turkey on my table. Like your point of view of looking at the animals side. Listened to the wild turkey video from last year -- nice. Have a relaxing holiday weekend -- barbara

  7. Daphne ~ I love Shel Silverstein too! He had a wonderful sense of humor and was insightful as well. I love the empathy of this poem.

    I was honored to have such a devoted suitor as Octavio. :-) He was always a true gentleman, and he was indeed handsome! We had fun reminiscing about him at dinner last night (Jenny was there) and his adorable crush.

    Molly ~ I'm glad you get to enjoy wild turkeys as your neighbors too! And I appreciate your sweet remarks about this tribute to Octavio. I love that poem too, and though I've known of several of Shel Silverstein's poems since I was 14 or so, I only discovered this one a few years ago!

    Barbara ~ Of course you may call me Laloo! Saves a few keystrokes and I always answer to it. :-) One of my nicknames has been "Lalu" since I was about 22, but I enjoy the Laloo spelling more.

    It's so gratifying that you too enjoyed a peaceful and compassionate feast (I"m sure it was delicious, too!), Shel's thoughtful poem, and the burbling turkeys in my video! They're so cute. :-)

  8. Thanks for the lovely Christmas music to read your blog to. It's a little bit of a dis-incentive to click on your links since that ends the music but by just leaving the linds all to the last - it works out fine! :-)
    I don't remember hearing about Octavio and it was a lovely story and I like your ending much better. You after all were not a very suitable girlfriend with your heart already given over to BW - Octavio would have needed to find his own true love!
    I think I remember that poem by Shel (Where the Sidewalk Ends was one of Melissa's favorites) but I hadn't read it in a long time and it was a perfect ending to your blog.

  9. Jo ~ I'm glad you enjoyed my holiday playlist selections! Good point about the links though, it does bring the music to an abrupt halt, so good idea saving the links for last.

    I'm also glad you liked Octavio's story (and my happier ending) and enjoyed revisiting Shel's poem. You're quite right, BW got dibbies on my heart, so Octavio needed to find a more suitable soulmate. :-)

    Just between you and me (and anyone else who happens to read this), I think Punky has a bit of a crush on BW! (But I think she mostly loves him for his pockets full of alfalfa cookies). ;-)

  10. LOL I'm glad you and BW are willing to occasionally share your hearts (and souls) with your critter friends. You both have enough love to go around!!


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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