A Turkey Named Suitcase - Melba Gibson

Some men are natural hunters and fishermen.  They purchase all the necessary gear, from clothes to guns; go out in the "wild" and bring home meat for the family table.  My dad was not one of those men. He was a big burley guy who labored with his hands. He could gulp down a stiff drink and curse a blue streak, but he did not have the heart to kill anything. So how he became the winner at a turkey shoot is still a mystery to us.

It was in the fall of the year, sometime in the 1950's, just before Thanksgiving.  My dad decided to try his skill at a game called "Turkey Shoot".  Turkey Shoots were usually sponsored by organizations as money making projects.  They would select a rural area, string up some outside lights, set up a target, build a bonfire, and load up the shotgun.  They would sell tickets or chances to shoot at the target. The man whose shot was closest to the bull's eye on the target won the turkey. It must have been the urge to gamble and not the desire to test his sportsmanship that persuaded my dad to take a shot at the target.  But, by George, he won!

And win he did....a live turkey! She was a white hen turkey, not a very pretty bird.  She was turned loose in the yard with the chickens.  No one remembers who or why, but someone named her "Suitcase". Some one took a photo of her and she became a family pet. She got so fat her legs were bowed from supporting all her weight. Thanksgiving came and went that year, but Suitcase was safe.

How could you eat a turkey with a name like Suitcase?

~Melba Gibson