This time of year always has me thinking about turkey. When I think about it I’m trying to figure out who’s cooking it, (never me) and where I’m going to eat it. There’s usually some consideration about recreating the turkey sandwich Thanksgiving from many years ago – our go-to Plan B. It really wasn’t that bad. Lately any turkey thoughts include the Turkey of St. Johns. Last fall, I searched for evidence of a turkey kept in a pen in the front yard of a home in that area. It’s something I remember seeing a long time ago, but years later there was no trace of the avian apparition. I received a tip after posting about it on facebook last year directing me to a street different from the one in my memory. After last Thanksgiving, I rode my bike up and down N. Polk Street to no avail. There weren’t even any neighbors outside to accost with ramblings of pet turkey sightings.
When I feel like giving up on my quest for the St. Johns’ Turkey, I push to go back to the back part of the deep recesses of my memory bank. After waiting in line for an hour, I am led by a doughy bank employee with a tiny key. There, in the back of a box, dark despite the greenish flourescent lighting, is a faint memory that’s getting fuzzy and faded with age. It’s one of an ephemeral, strangely fluffy turkey with plumage that haunts me to this day. Happening upon that giant, lumbering bird gobbling it up on someone’s front yard creeped me out. As much of an impression as that made, all evidence including anyone else’s remembrance has vanished. I’m here to tell you, I saw the Turkey of St. Johns. It was real! Someday I’m going to find that bird.
I believe in the Turkey of St. Johns. The memory year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow, I will ride faster, open up my eyes wider . . . and then one fine morning— So I search on, stumbling against the current, pushed back ceaselessly into the past.