Frantic feathers

Scene: Farmer Brown’s barnyard

Time: Sometime before Thanksgiving or Christmas

Characters: Tom Turkey and Tillie Turkey


Tillie: Psst! Psst! Tom, over here by the azalea bushes.

Tom: Tillie, girl, where’ve you been? I’ve looked all over the barnyard for those beautiful feathers. You mad at me?

Tillie: No, I’m not mad but what’s the matter with you? Struttin’ around here like you owned the place. Don’t you know what time of year it is?

Tom: A good time if you ask me. Why I haven’t missed a meal for the past month. Farmer Brown’s been layin’ it on heavy, honey, what with all the extra feed he’s been puttin’ out. You’d think he was tryin’ to fatten me up.

Tillie: Fool! That’s exactly what he’s doing. Ain’t no human gonna buy a scrawny, ole turkey with no meat on its bones.

Tom: What’s the humans got to do with it?

Tillie: I swear,Tom, you get denser every year. Don’t you feel the nip in the morning air? Haven’t the squirrels started gathering their winter supply of nuts?And what do you think has been falling off the trees leavin’ em naked as Jay birds? It’s comin’ up Thanksgiving! For some reason known only to man, our turkey population takes quite a dip around this time. Seems our species is the ‘meat of the day’—never could figure out why. We’re not exactly the best looking fowl on the farm.

Tom:  Well, now Tillie, don’t be selling us short. I’m proud of my plumage and have you ever heard a bigger gobbler?

Tillie: Well, all I know is that Thelma got the axe last Thanksgiving and I haven’t liked the way Farmer Brown has been giving me the eye this fall. So I’m hidin’ out and if you don’t want to become a poster boy for “Butterball”, you best be getting your carcass behind these bushes, too.

Tom: Gee, Tillie, if you really think we’re in danger, we could maybe fly away and hide in the woods.

Tillie: Tom, stop your gobblin’ and think. When’s the last time you managed to fly to the top of the fence? Just because we’ve got wings doesn’t mean we can fly-especially, since you’ve been pigging out on all that corn Farmer Brown’s been dishin’ around.

No, we’ve got to lay low and stay away from Lucy Goose. She knows her kind have been sacrificed as substitute turkeys more than once. She’ll rat on us sure as shootin’. You know she’s always squawkin’.

Tom: You got that right—her beak never stops flappin.’

Tillie: No, I’ve got a plan. Just after dark, when everyone has settled in, we’ll pass the word that fox is on the prowl. That’s good for some noise and commotion and it always gets Farmer Brown’s attention. We’ll keep on the edge of the raucous and as soon as he opens the gate make a B-line for the woods. He’ll be so confused he won’t know whether to chase after us or go for the fox. My money’s on the fox—more to lose if that critter’s in the henhouse.”

Tom: “But Tillie, I don’t run very fast anymore. What if I get caught? It’s curtains for me! You’ll be in the woods with that wild cousin of yours.”

Tillie: “Just look at it this way, Tom. From what I hear, humans rave about us on Thanksgiving and Christmas, but we’re even better the day after!”


By Sylvia Melvin


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