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Although El Paso has a splendid climate most of the year, it does get hot in the summer. When the crisp days of fall arrive, the air is so clear and invigorating that I have renewed energy. It's my favorite season, and the time of year I most enjoy going for a walk.

Usually I am entirely alone on these walks, but late one November I was surprised to see someone else in the distance.

I was on the verge of calling out a greeting when I noticed the man was carrying a hatchet. Well, discretion is the better part of valor, I always heard, so I thought maybe I better keep quiet until I saw for sure what was going on.

I crept a bit closer, and then I recognized him. It was my old friend Walter, who used to grow gigantic pumpkins on several acres of his farm, but in recent years has downsized considerably.

"Hey, Walter!" I hollered. "How're things?"

He turned to peer at me. "Is that you, Wanna?" he called. "What're you doing out here?"

"Hi, Walter. Oh, I'm just taking a walk since the weather is so nice. And you?"

"Well, I been wantin' to get me a turkey for Thanksgiving dinner this year, and I coulda swore I heard a gobble over here some'ers, but I've looked ever'where, and can't see a blessed thing."

"You seen anything, Wanna?"

At this point there was ever so slight a motion on the ground not far from the farmer's feet. I snuck a quick glance to see a small turkey looking pleadingly at me.

"Um, I'm afraid I haven't been looking that closely, Walter."

"Well, no point in tryin' any further today. Better get home afore Wilma starts callin' me on that dang cell phone she makes me carry around," he said. "Guess we'll just have to get one of them store-boughten turkeys. Take care, Wanna, and come by for a visit when you can." He waved and started off toward home.

"Thanks, Walter, I will. Tell Wilma hello for me. You know, the turkeys from the store are really good," I called after him, as I carefully shooed the little turkey away. "That's what we have each year. And look at the work they save," I hollered.

I heard later from Walter's wife Wilma that her husband was quite content with their Butterball turkey. "Old goat should've known he wouldn't find one. I been tellin' him for months to get hisself some glasses. Why, he can't see further'n the end of his nose."

"You're probably right," I agreed. "And who would expect to find a wild turkey in this area, anyway?"


NOTE: My turkey hunter was a Wilton cake decoration and had a hoe in his hand. I gave him a repainting and a dirty water wash and replaced the hoe with a hatchet. My husband came in and saw him and said, "Hey! He looks like Walter Matthau." And that's how he got his name.

I have had the fearful little turkey for many years; I think he may have been a Hallmark purchase.



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