Loose Ends: One gobbler too many

Accounts of life on many of the ranches at the turn of the 19th century usually include humorous remembrances of the animal members of the family, including the farmyard creatures. The remembrance of rancher Al Ellison in the Rio Blanco Historical Society’s edition of “This Is What I Remember, Volume II,” remembered one particularly aggressive tom turkey.
“Al Ellison stocked B.M. Vaughan’s ranch with all manner of fowl-ducks, geese, guineas, light Brahma and Plymouth Rock chickens, large bronze turkeys and a pair of beautiful peacocks.”
“One day the big bronze turkey gobbler won a smashing victory over a handsome opponent. The mirror to May Ellison’s dresser had been detached and set in the yard at the Cross Bar Z ranch ready to load in a wagon for one of their moves to Al’s Powell Park ranch. Soon, ‘Sir Gobbler’ came strutting along and caught sight of his image. He could not allow another gobbler on the ranch. He broke the mirror.”
Reading other historical accounts of life on local farms and ranches, it is apparent that quite a few children’s memories included territorial and aggressive chickens and geese as well. Many of them didn’t shed a tear when their parents or grandparents served up the ferocious fowl for Sunday dinner. Even though most of the old-timers tell stories about a favorite pig, cow, or sheep that was eventually slaughtered to feed the family for the winter, there seem to be few warm, fuzzy tales of the family’s farmyard turkeys. That is why most local residents still carry on the annual Thanksgiving day tradition with a mammoth roast turkey as the piece de resistance.
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!