Every Thanksgiving we point our headlights west. Leaving chic espresso shops behind, we speed past deserted gas stations and miles of empty scrub brush, barreling down open highways to finally arrive at Turkey Roost Ranch. It’s our family’s land. My mother’s people have ranched it for over a hundred years. It is rumored my great-grandmother was the first woman gifted a parcel for her very own, so it’s pretty special.

It was named Turkey Roost because hundreds of wild turkeys roam the land. No one misses the irony of watching those majestic birds, sitting happily, swinging on the powerline under a powder blue sky as we dig into dark meat and sweet potatoes.

Those turkeys are enviable. They languish about, while I struggle remembering whether my distant aunt is divorced or not and who half my relatives are. As I sweat making small talk, the gobblers shoot the breeze, simply warbling in the wind.

I certainly would love to turkey-swap when politics or religion come up, or when my kale salad arrives and with it the subsequent commentary that follows. But it is great being human and enjoying a heaping helping of fluff salad (it’s a West Texas thing), slyly showing off my kids and defending my long-standing reign of Spoon Player Champion-in-Charge.

As the day trots on, we dig into pecan pie. Then those turkeys really let loose. They flap down from the wire and strut just far enough away from our very large group to flaunt their lucky tail feathers. They sort of flip us the literal bird as they revel in their security for having made it through another Thanksgiving unscathed.

May we all get through our holiday gatherings, large or small, happy to simply hang under a powder blue sky and feel the gratitude of life.

In other words, at the end of the day, let’s give thanks we are not turkeys.


Berry is an Austin-based Children’s book author and mother of two. She also teaches writing workshops for young people at cateberry.com

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