It’s quite a story about how this kid ended up serving a smoked wild turkey that he’d shot to the family on Thanksgiving last week.
In October, I was in Vermont, visiting colleges with his older brother. We were sitting in a hotel room when my phone rang. I answered and heard Aidan, 13, nearly hyperventilating. He’d gone out to fish in a kayak since all the boats and docks had been put up for the winter. “Dad,” he whispered, “There’s about 20 turkeys on the ridge. What should I do?”
“Go get a gun and shoot one,” I said.
As Aidan paddled back to the cabin, I went online from my hotel room and bought him a youth fall turkey license (for all of $6!).
I didn’t hear anything for about 20 minutes, and then I received this photo from my cousin:
Of course, I immediately called him (FaceTimed him, actually), and he told me how he’d gotten to the cabin and borrowed my uncle’s 20-gauge O/U. Then he climbed the ridge behind the cabin and snuck up on the flock. He picked one out and shot, only wounding it. He shot again and the bird flew into some brush on the lake shore. So Aidan called for Albert, our yellow Lab. Albert faithfully retrieved the still-alive turkey to Aidan’s hand, and the boy dispatched the bird.
“What do I do now?” he asked me. Figuring it was too hard to describe how to clean the turkey, I said, “Go on YouTube and watch a video about how to clean it.” He did just that, bagged it up, and got it in the freezer.
That was last month. Last week, thanks to a dad from his hockey team who owns a good smoker, we dropped the turkey off on Thanksgiving morning, picked it up that afternoon, and served it that evening.
Everyone agreed that Aidan’s first turkey tasted great—and the story of its harvest made it that much sweeter.