This vintage plate is about 10 1/4 inches in diameter. It is unmarked but in excellent condition.
I’ve seen turkeys like this before. It was late fall and you could smell the earth of the corn fields. There was a rising dusky scent with a slight acridity brought on by the recent rains. We were digging holes, doing a survey for one of the relentless housing projects brought on from the twin pressures of urban sprawl and declining farm economies.
The owner of the land, the orchard, and the cider mill was a giant, descended from an early governor of the state. He bore an uncanny resemblance to Shrek, which had just come out several months earlier, which the crew found unsettling. We’d sling the company van through the mud to get lunch from his store and he’d tap the cash register keys, ringing up our purchases, each key struck one at a time and ever so slowly. Tap, tap . . .tap: tap 2,tap . , tap 5, tap 0, tap +, tap 1, tap ., tap 5, tap 0, tap sub total, tap total, “That’ll be four dollars.” Each transaction averaged three minutes, we had a crew of six and travel time was about five minutes each way. That left two minutes for lunch, but as workers will when out of the range of management, we took some liberties with how we used company time.
So it was during this stint that one sunny day the local public radio station was playing classical music during lunch time (remember when they used to do that?). It was not the weepy, reedy, thin stuff, but hearty, “let’s go work hard and play hard” fare. They put on the fourth movement of Dvorak’s new world symphony and we sailed that company van back to the dig site. Mud slinging, corn stalks flying, the crazed crew boss in command and the crew regretting becoming anthropologists (what with ignominious death in a muddy corn field on the line). It was then, as we made the turn along the old fence line, that we saw him in the road. It was hard to tell who was more startled, the old tom, or Colonel Kurtz. The tom reacted by displaying his feathers. the crew boss by slamming on the brakes. The van kicked up a bow wave of mud, inundating the old tom who looked perturbed, as only an aged and pissed off turkey can.
He should have considered himself lucky as the cooking time for test-pit turkey, of his age and size is about three hours. And the orchard would have provided plenty of firewood.