There once was a turkey named Larry who lived in a small wood next to a hunting shack. The shack was owned by an exceptionally bad hunter named Earl. For ten years Earl had been trying to shoot Larry to eat him for Thanksgiving dinner. Instead, for the last ten Thanksgivings, Earl ate General Tso’s chicken and beef dumplings from Mr. Sing’s House of Chinese Delicacies and Non-Denominational Wedding Chapel.
Also two years ago he married third shift waitress Darlene Lumpholz in a ceremony presided over by Mr. Sing and witnessed by long haul trucker Darryl “Dirty Deeds” Hufnagel. They were separated 6 days later. Darlene listed as the reasons on the divorce papers: “general stupidity and clipping his toe nails in the bathtub while I was taking a bath.”
Larry the turkey, however, was worried this year. He was getting older and couldn’t move as fast as previous hunting seasons. Although he believed he was smarter than Earl, Larry was still afraid he would get caught. He had decided that it was time to make peace with his nemesis. He knocked on Earl’s door, ready with a truce offering of a pine cone. It may not sound like much, but remember, Larry is a turkey. To his relief Larry was invited inside where the two combatants shared in a feast of Frosted Mini-Wheats while Earl relayed the dream he had had the night before where he won the lottery, ran off with Katie Couric and then drove in the 24 hours of Lemans in a soap box derby car.
They spent hours discussing their differences, like how much Earl wanted to eat Larry and how much Larry really did not want to be eaten. What they found in the end is that they were very much alike. Neither could dance and both did terrible impersonations of Lady Gaga. Larry had also been married briefly, to a female turkey named Melinda who ran off with a ruffed grouse whose nest was next to the largest tree stump in the tri-state area.
They commiserated over stories of their domineering fathers. Earl’s wanted him to go into the family business of lard production while Larry’s repeatedly told him he was a bad gobbler and wouldn’t live past 6 months in the forest on his own. After a few ribald jokes and shots of . . . wait for it . . . Wild Turkey, Earl and Larry had become friends. As gifts that signified their new trust, Larry gave Earl one of his tail feathers and Earl gave Larry his Dale Earnhardt commemorative flashlight.
Larry the turkey spent a restful Thanksgiving Day watching football at his favorite forest pub, The Rotting Pile of Leaves Next to the Dead Skunk. He listened to the stories of a gang of raccoons who claimed to have been abducted by aliens that looked like research scientists and got the general location that she usually grazed in from a very cute young turkey named Felicity.
On the other end of town Earl made memories of his own. Brimming with renewed hope and confidence he reconnected with Darlene at the Thanksgiving evening buffet at Mr. Sing’s. A dozen shared crab Rangoons later and Earl proposed, giving Darlene the same ring his own father had once given to a Las Vegas showgirl before understanding that their subsequent marriage would be legally binding in Pennsylvania.
Earl and Darlene were re-married that night by a bored and petulant Mr. Sing with Darryl “Dirty Deeds” Hufnagel once again looking on, toasting them with a tall boy of Schlitz.
It was a Thanksgiving full of miracles and everyone lived happily ever after. Except Darryl Hufnagel, who ate a bad piece of Mongolian beef and ended up in the hospital with a case of gas so explosive they had to evacuate the fourth floor. But eventually he went home and lived, if not happily, at least reasonably ever after.