Turkey Talk

At the first Thanksgiving celebrated by the pilgrims, among the foods served were venison, duck, goose, seafood, eels, white bread, corn bread, leeks, watercress, wild plums and dried berries. What was not served? - TURKEY!

A turkey is a wild combination of colors: Dark bodies with BRONZE and GREEN feathers; A very bumpy RED head (which changes to BLUE when the turkey gets excited); A RED piece of flesh that "drips" over the beak; A Bright RED wattle that drips under the beak; And a lovely tassle that hangs, like a curtain pull, from the front of the chest. The tail feathers are a combination of BROWN, BLACK, GOLD and UMBER.

There are many different kinds of turkeys. Where Leslie lives, in Carmel Valley, there are wild turkeys. These turkeys like to eat seeds, insects and, from time to time, a nice tasty lizard or a frog. Leslie sees the wild turkeys in the early morning when she takes her two-mile walk around the neighborhood.

The turkey is from the animal family, Meleagriddidae, the order Galliformes. The turkey that we enjoy for our Thanksgiving feast is actually raised for that purpose, it’s the common Meleagris gallopavo, a native bird of North America. It is believed that the bird was first domesticated in Mexico, way back in the 1500’s. The bird became very popular when it was introduced to Europeans by the Spanish. Of course the turkey travelled back to North America with the colonists in the 17th century.

Thanksgiving as a National Holiday:

Sarah Josepha Hale edited a ladies' magazine and had a very strong opinion about creating a national day of thanks. That was back in 1863! The President at that time was Abraham Lincoln, who declared that, from that time on, the last Thursday of each November would be a Thanksgiving holiday. It remained the last Thursday of November until 1939 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared that the official Thanksgiving holiday would be on the third Thursday of November. This was a very unpopular change with the public, there were many protests but Congress finally passed a law that said, once-and-for-all, the fourth Thursday in November would be the Thanksgiving holiday and that was that!