I got a turkey the other day.
No, I’m not a hunter — of turkeys or anything. I’m relatively adept at hitting tin cans, paper bulls-eyes and the occasional red star at a county fair. But when it comes to things with a heartbeat, I’d rather shoot them with a camera.
So the fact that wild turkey season opens on April 14 and continues through May 12 isn’t of much concern to me, other than to let folks who do hunt know when the dates are and — this is important — that they can submit a photo of themselves with their bagged deer to the newspaper.
But last week, I was riding out N.C. 87 East toward East Bladen High so I could watch the Eagles take on East Columbus in a Three Rivers Conference baseball game. I was, on the one hand, looking forward to seeing East Bladen play for the first time in the regular season and, on the other hand, was wary of what Mother Nature was cooking up — which wasn’t good.
As I was lost in thought, I happened to catch sight of a lone wild turkey along my side of the road ahead. I didn’t think too much of it, because I’d passed numerous wild turkeys before, and they have always been pretty bored with the fact that vehicles are whizzing by within a few feet of them.
It did go through my mind that, should this particular turkey get its feathers ruffled by oncoming traffic, it could easily make a bee-line to the open field and trees to the right of the roadway.
As I approached, with a long line of cars coming toward me, this nimwit turkey suddenly got it in its tiny head that taking flight would be a good idea — not to the right, toward the field and tress, mind you. Oh, no. Instead, ol’ Tom Twerp Turkey lifted off and decided on an escape route to the left.
Across N.C. 87.
Right in front of me.
In less time than I could process the situation, swerve one way or the other, or even step on the brakes, this feathered ignoramus slammed into the passenger side of my windshield — pushing a bubble of glass into my Jeep about 3 inches, sending small shards of slivered glass into the passenger seat and severely cracking the entire windshield.
I soon pulled over, and it was like the “Twilight Zone” had kicked in. Not a single car was now in sight. The turkey, surely crumpled as badly as my windshield and thankfully deceased, was off the road — where I chose to leave it for the buzzards to enjoy … a well-deserved consequence, in my mind.
I then pointed my Jeep toward home about 25 miles away and drove carefully — holding a clipboard up in case the windshield decided to buckle in on me. It never did.
Two days later, Safelite came and replaced the windshield and the installer told me I was lucky for two reasons: First, the turkey hadn’t bent the frame above the windshield and, second, it wasn’t as bad as a woman who had a turkey fly THROUGH her windshield and land in her back seat in a pile of feathers and blood.
Still, here’s how I figure it: The turkey probably weighed about 20 pounds. The windshield cost me $313. So I paid $15.65 per pound for the buzzard’s dinners.
Obviously the baseball game was off my agenda. And besides, Mother Nature put an end to the game with some lightning and rain — both of which I would have enjoyed far more than the visit from that clucking clod.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached at 910-862-4163 or firstname.lastname@example.org.