Editor’s note: This Thanksgiving, My Buckhannon contributor Ann Bergstrom is bringing readers a series of her favorite recipes leading up to Turkey Day itself. Today’s edition continues the tale about her pet turkeys, Pecky and Perchy. If you missed Part I, you can read it by clicking here.
A few interesting facts about the best pets: I may be prejudiced but turkeys are almost genius in intelligence. I would call, “Here turkey, turkey,” and they would come running to me no matter where they were hanging in the yard. They loved for me to lie in the grass with them, and each one would lie beside me and spread one wing over my shoulders. We would lie together like that and they would make contented turkey cluck noises.
But they could gobble too! Sometimes as they got older they would fluff up their feathers looking instantly fat, their heads would turn bright red, their tails would spread up and wide, and amazing gobbles squawked out of those wide-opened beaks. This happened sometimes when a strange cat or dog would enter our yard.
Food is interesting. Did you know turkeys love watermelon? Well, they do. I would always share with them and they would peck the melon clean clear down to the rind. And they loved to peck my teeth when I would smile big and wide, like a Facebook smile! I guess the shiny white drew their interest. My friends were always too chicken to try this, but it just felt like a tiny peck, nothing major.
Every summer my family took a beach vacation. The year of Pecky and Perchy, I asked my friend Sonja if she would take care of them, feed, water and let them out of their pen each morning and back in at night. She said sure, and I promised a nice pay check when we returned.
It wasn’t until years later that my friend Sonja admitted to me that she ‘hated’ those turkeys, but rather than say no to me, she paid our other friend Pam to do her job!
I raised Pecky and Perchy from babies right out of the egg when they were tiny and furry, close to Easter time. At first they were in a huge Mail Pouch box in the laundry room with a chicken light hanging down to keep them warm. My sister Sherry and I played with them all the time as babies; that’s probably why they became so tame and loving as adults.
Unfortunately nothing lasts forever. When school started that next fall, my mom said Pecky and Perchy had to go. And besides, they had taken to leaving our yard and visiting the neighbors, which may have not been so bad if they hadn’t decided to roost on top of their car.
When they left to live on a farm, I cried and cried. And truly, as much as I love and have loved my cats these many years, no pets have been more adored than those two beloved turkeys. Rest In Peace, Pecky and Perchy.
Since this year is a rather nostalgic Thanksgiving, what with reminiscing the life and times of Pecky and Perchy, I’m pulling out some old favorite recipes. My family has always loved this appetizer and so do I. It was one of the first dishes I learned to make in those early days after college when we had to at least pretend to be grown up.
1 package cream cheese
1 large jar chipped beef
1/2 medium onion
Fresh or dried parsley, chopped if fresh
Soften cream cheese. In processor, rough chop onion and chipped beef. Mix well into cream cheese, roll into a ball and refrigerate until hardened. Meanwhile, rough chop parsley and walnuts in processor. When cheese ball is ready, roll it into the parsley and walnuts spread out on wax paper until the cheese ball is completely covered. Serve with crackers; I prefer Sociables.