Today is a day I’ve been dreading for nearly a year. Today we will process our Thanksgiving turkey. Dooley came to us one year and 10 months ago. He is a stunning Narragansett with beautiful feathers, a large red and blue face and sweet brown eyes. His brothers, also Narragansetts, graced our table last year, but he was spared because he was charming and I really liked him (plus, we had more than enough and didn’t need another). In fact, he was spared as I stood in the middle of the yard, holding him in my arms, tears streaming down my face, walking to the place where he was to be slaughtered. That was a year ago.
There are a number of terms used for processing – process, slaughter, harvest, etc. One thing is for certain, it’s always sacrifice and it’s always sad – it’s supposed to be. So today, I am sad. Dooley has lived an amazing life – he’s spent his days, strutting around the yard, in all of his turkey glory, puffed up and handsome and his nights, roosting in his favorite tree, keeping watch over the farm. And now it’s time to say goodbye, and to be thankful for his life. This is hard. Really hard.
Often, as a society, we are so distanced from our food – from the sacrifices made on our behalf – assuming cheaper and faster is better, somehow. This Thanksgiving will be especially precious to us, knowing how Dooley was loved, the happy life he lived and the respectful way he will be treated in death.