This is the day that every turkey looks forward to.
It's a whole year or two of eating and getting fattened up. They put themselves through the paces, jumping rope normally and in that confusing crossed way that dedicated athletes do, absorbing the pain of the moment for the gratifying joy of finally accomplishing their course. This is it.
Turkeys know they're put on this earth for one thing and one thing only, to be the centerpiece of a Thanksgiving meal for human beings. That's what they learn when they're small and what they keep in mind all along the way.
It's a great goal, of course, but none of it's easy. Of which I don't want to say much, except to say turkeys have challenges like the rest of us. There's a whole pecking order, some overcrowding, a lack of privacy, and all your friends are turkeys. But no matter how hard it is, all of them -- the good ones, that is -- grin and bear it, put their head down and charge through, onward and upward, toward the finish line.
They say that all of us, as our final moments are coming, are granted a glimpse of the afterlife, meant to assure us that life is good and that a beneficent Creator is looking out for us. That also applies to turkeys, who, it is reported, are given a glimpse in dreams of the Thanksgiving table they will adorn. Isn't that great? It's a very satisfying thought. I like it. And I like an additional thought along those same lines. That is, that the turkey, its spirit looking from above, gets to witness the complete satisfaction of the family gathered around the table. It's so good!
A turkey goes from being a small fry, ten to a handful, all the way up to the enormous 18 pound (on average) bird that covers your best platter. They're destined for it, and they're happy to do it. This is their joy, their glory. This is their graduation day.
May each turkey who's come this far graduate with only the highest honors!