Bright shiny objects

With the election debacle, fake news, real news and COVID-19 all in play at the same time, our belly-filling turkey holiday is soon arriving from its annual trip around the sun. 

During this time of year, I am reminded of my younger days helping to raise turkeys for the fall tradition and our winter food supply. Turkeys are typically very docile creatures, for the most part, but they also can be very unruly when they so desire. Feeding and watering times were the worst for my brother and me. For years in the early days of our “farming careers,” we would get trampled on by huge tom turkeys and pecked at by upset hens looking for an excuse to release some of their “penned up” frustration.

However, over the course of time, my brother and I had figured out that turkeys were very easily distracted [by] bright shiny objects. It was the epiphany of our turkey-raising days and we almost came to the point of enjoyment toward the daily chore — well, not really, but it was much easier.  

One of us would distract the turkeys with a beautiful, bright shiny object at the opposite end of the turkey pen. The other would be prodding, poking and antagonizing the flock of now zombie-like, focused poultry with anything we had available — a piece of metal, the brass end of the garden hose or even the axe next to the chopping block, which in hindsight, was a little psychologically barbaric, but I don’t think they really understood until later in the fall.  

With all the chaos happening at one end of the pen, my brother or I would fill up the food trough and refill the water containers very peacefully and with no hurry in our step — a far cry from the fearful frantic scramble as we had previously done so many times before. The turkeys were so infatuated with the bright shiny object they ignored their hunger, completely unaware of their surroundings and even one another. They were only focused on that object and fought with one another to get at it. Then, when we were ready, we would take the shiny thing away from the turkeys and their lives would return to normal again — eating, drinking, preening and clucking just like they had done before we showed up.

 I reflect on this because we are distracted by bright shiny objects in our daily lives by network news, social media, state and federal governments and political figures. The shiny thing is presented to all of us very often and many of us don’t even realize it is happening.  The bright, shiny objects come in many different forms and can be very cunning, like a wolf with sheepskin on its back.  

So, this Thanksgiving holiday, please remember the turkeys. Be mindful and safe with your families and fellow neighbors. However, be wary of the bright shiny objects. Distractions like these can take you away from the important things in life and ask you to do things you would normally not.  

The moral of the story this holiday is, don’t be a turkey. It might put you on a platter you don’t want to be on.

Steve Daigle lives in Fort Kent.

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