Patience is the Key

Ethel Johnson grew up on a farm and while most people who raise turkeys do that for food, some people like Ethel keep turkeys as pets.  Her father Eastman was not happy about this and he always teased her that they might end up eating the turkey for Thanksgiving dinner someday.  A mother-turkey flew into her yard three years ago and she laid her eggs in the barn.  The bird sat patiently on a nest full of eggs for four weeks and Ethel gave her food and water.  Ethel was very happy when she saw the speckled shells had broken apart and that baby turkeys emerged.  Once the babies had hatched, she heard a dozen little chirps coming out of these very hungry turkeys.  She grabbed a blanket to keep them warm, as they didn’t have all of their feathers yet.

The mother knew that Ethel was helping, and that she would never hurt the little things.  When they were all hatched and strong enough to walk, she left the nest with her young ones, and her babies followed her to a field, where they were able to get their fill of fat, juicy bugs and grasshoppers and crickets.  They fed on these from morning till night, and they grew tall and strong and Ethel would stop by every day to watch them grow and she would sing to them.  They were a very happy family, and one of the birds, who she named Oscar, took a special liking to her.

One sad day the mother turkey stepped on some broken glass which made her feet bleed.  Her right foot swelled up badly, and Ethel thought that this must have been very painful, so she went to the vet, so he could have a look at it.  The vet examined the bird and gave it antibiotics and said that she would probably limp for several days, but that she should get better.  The mother could not go far enough to find all the food her babies needed, so Ethel helped to catch bugs for the babies when they cried out with hunger.  One morning, the mother was too sick to walk at all and Ethel had to feed her and give her water as well.  The next day when Ethel returned, she found the bird dead.

After that Ethel became the full-time mother for all of the orphan birds.  Ethel was very patient and she always made sure that the little birds had access to as much food as they wanted to eat, and since it was hard to find enough bugs for all of them, she switched them to eating corn and soybean based food, which had all of the vitamins and minerals that they needed to keep growing.  One by one the turkeys, once they were large enough to take care of themselves, eventually flew away, except for Oscar who never left.  Whenever Oscar saw Ethel holding his food bowl, he always tried to jump on her, but Ethel would not allow that and she would tell him that he had to be more patient.

Written for Teresa Grabs Daily Writing Prompt – Feeding the Turkey.

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