My closest neighbor, Chris, raises birds. She starts with eggs, then hatches and raises ducks, peacocks, chickens, quail and turkeys. She bought an emu egg on craigslist, hatched it, and now Emma the Emu is a pet. This year, Chris entered a turkey in the Western Washington State Fair, known locally as the Puyallup Fair. It’s a huge fair and one of my favorite events. My friend, Marie Smith (wife of author Roland Smith,) enters her delicious pies every year and has a host of blue ribbons to show for her efforts. If you taste one of Marie’s pies, you’ll agree that the judges know their business.
This was Chris’s first time to enter. She delivered Tom Turkey to the fair and got him settled in a spacious pen with bedding, food and fresh water. Until then, Tom’s only socializing had been with Chris and her other birds. At the fair, his pen was surrounded by admirers who praised his size and beauty. Well, Tom LOVED the compliments! He strutted and gobbled. He let the fair-goers pet him. He puffed up with self-importance and quickly became a favorite of the audiences and judges. He not only won first prize, he was named the Grand Champion Turkey. Because he was so popular, the fair officials asked Chris to enter him again next year.
The fair ended two weeks ago, but Tom is still strutting and carrying on. I can hear him from my back yard: “Gobble, gobble, gobble.” He doesn’t seem to realize that the ducks, peacocks, and Emma are unimpressed.
I understand how Tom feels. When I receive a book award, as I’ve done twice in the last month, I get complimented, photographed, and hugged. My books are praised and my autograph is sought. For a day or two, I’m the star of the show. Then I come home and resume my real life – scooping the cat box, cleaning my house, slogging my way through the first draft of a new book.
Unlike Tom, I don’t want to spend every day in the spotlight. While award events are exciting and gratifying, I love my quiet life at home. I am writing this blog on a bench in my back yard, enjoying the sun with Molly and Lucy. The only sounds I hear are bird calls, a squirrel, and, from Chris’s direction, “Gobble, gobble, gobble.”