For the second time in three years, we yield the Idle Chatter floor to the fowl-based wisdom the honorable Dexter P. Turklesworth. Mr. Turklesworth, who comes from a line of turkey both literal and metaphorical dating back to colonial times, will answer questions regarding Thanksgiving, avian preparedness and geopolitics. — Dear Dexter, How long should I let my turkey thaw? ~ April Schaurs, Los Colinas, TX Dear April, There’s a reason you’ll never find a velvet painting of turkeys playing poker being sold from the back of an old Econoline behind the Stripes gas station. My fellow members of Meleagris gallopavo are notoriously aloof. Cold. Frigid to family and stranger alike. The best way to crack their frosty-feathered shells of solitude is to slowly integrate them into the daily routine of your family. Give them a seat at the dinner table. Include them in family Boggle night. Entrust them with the care of your infant triplets whilst you and your dear hubs enjoy a well-deserved night at the Olive Garden. Soon your noble guest will be as warm and delightful as your Pomeranian used to be before the turkey arrived and pecked his way up the pecking order. Yours, Dexter — Dear Dexter, My son says his teacher says that turkeys can’t fly. Is she a lying liar? ~ Tom Trueblood, The Colony, TX Dear Tom, First, great name. Second, yes, your son’s teacher is full of beans. And not the tasty baked kind that have been in the slow cooker for three days with ample amount of brown sugar, secret sauce and bacon. I’m talking lima beans. Turkeys can certainly fly, although we often have trouble getting through security without a TSA groping. Yours, Dexter — Dear Dexter, Is it true that turkey makes people tired? I’d hate for my guests to fall asleep before I bring out the baked Alaska. ~ Judith Snoodlefort, Highland Park, TX Dear Snoodles, The idea that turkeys make people groggy is an old wives’ tale first promulgated by Albany (NY) Society of Ducks, Geese and Assorted Waterfowl in the 1798 autumn edition of their quarterly newsletter “The Honky-Quacker Gazette.” While it is true that turkeys are naturally taciturn (see previous question), they can become quite chatty – even witty – when plied with corn. Assuming the corn has been turned into mash that has been turned into whiskey. Yours, Dexter — Dear Dexter, Turkey is increasingly becoming a geopolitical hotspot. How can we be certain the goals of Turkey align with those of the United States? ~ Martin “Forty-Five” Colt, Ft. Worth, TX Dear Martin, I appreciate the respect with which you treat my species vis-à-vis the capital T. Rest assured that the great Turkey Nation is indeed a mere subset of the U.S. of A. and are as American and freedom-loving as anyone not named Alec Baldwin. Yours, Dexter — Dear Dexter, Jell-O salad or beet casserole? ~ Angela Spoonwhiffer, Garland, TX Dear Ang, Chinese takeout. Yours, Dexter — Dear Dexter, Should I serve red or white wine with turkey? ~ Betsy Tipples, Irving, TX Dear Betsy, I appreciate your desire to be a good hostess and serve what your guests will appreciate most. But, in the aftermath of the Great Vegas Gobbledown in March 2013, turkeys neither drink nor dance. Consider us the Baptists of Birdland. Except we love casseroles, so throw in a hint of Methodist. Yours, Dexter — Dear Dexter, Do turkeys really gobble? ~ James Beauregard, Rockwall, TX Dear Jimbo, Only when succeeded by “up” and in regards to pie. Yours, Dexter — Dear Dexter, What are you most thankful for this year? ~ Ainsworth Wentworth, University Park, TX Dear Doubleworth, Stretch and Armstrong, my ostrich bodyguards. Yours, Dexter — Dear Dexter, What’s the story behind Butterball? ~ Andy McQuitty, Irving, TX Dear Andy, Beginning with the rise of the Medici family in Florence, Italy, the Butterballs were the most prominent family of gobblers in the civilized world, claiming vast stretches of roadside shoulders, medians, and other somewhat public and often dangerous green spaces stretching from the old Ottoman Empire to, eventually, the New World as far west as Bakersfield, California. Why they stopped in Bakersfield is anyone’s guess, but historians, who are often an inebriated lot, speculate that the Butterballs may have run afoul (sorry) of the Hell’s Angels. In any case, the clan definitely angered the powerful Poultry Pentaverate – Nikolai Tysonivich, Esther Church, The Queen, Argus “Popeye” Doyle and The Colonel (Sanders) – who continue to exact their revenge to this very day. The results of which can be found at your neighborhood Tom Thumb, assuming you’re the morbid type. Yours, Dexter — Dear Dexter, Brown gravy or white? ~ Jules McStarchison, Arlington, TX Dear Jules, Don’t be racist. Yours, Dexter
This column originally appeared in the November 2014 edition of Chatter Magazine and can, if Scribd.com still exists, be found here.