Being The Sad Story and Lamentable Fate of the Good and Gracious Mister Peabody: A Turkey

I’ve had a few requests to pull this passage out of the longer post: 

I suppose it can best be described as

“The Peabody Affair”

which occurred sometime in 1963. For those of you who may not have read the original, which I know is a bit longish; perhaps this will pique your interest.

Thanks for reading

***

Those were happy times for the most part, and we lived in a very small garage apartment owned by some friends of my grandparents. My mother had a beautiful voice and would sing a cappella constantly while cooking, doing dishes, or just mucking about the apartment.

Mom

My ‘musical talents’ have obviously come from my father’s side.

***

The elderly couple who owned the apartment and the very large house and yard surrounding it were called The Benbows. They were very nice people and apparently very, very good friends of my grandmother; hence our living there for what I now must assume was cheap rent. 

I liked them well enough I suppose. They had a ranch somewhere close to Fremont and I do remember going there at least once for the ‘roundup.’ There were horses, cows, dogs, cats, varmints, barbecue, (Not barbecued varmints!) and a nice creek to go skinny dipping in.

All right there in the Bay Area. Amazing to me now, but that was many years ago…

What I didn’t like about the arrangement was the fact that Mrs. Benbow had a pet Tom Turkey, named ‘Mr. Peabody.’

This bird hated little boys. And he was passionate about it. Mom would give me a cookie and tell me, “Now, go play outside and let me finish cleaning the house.”

I feared the outside while holding cookies. Mr. Peabody would lie in wait for me, and as soon as he saw me with cookies or anything resembling cookies, he would launch his attack.

With a strongly developed sense of self-preservation even at that tender age, I would drop the cookies and flee (Read: Run Like Hell) back to mom, complaining about this evil bird.

She would laugh and tell me to get over it, or “Why don’t you just play somewhere else?” 

Easily said Mom.

Impossibly done.

 “Remember?  I’m not allowed to cross the street???”

Grrrr…. This was not the proper response from someone who was supposed to love me above and beyond all things on Earth.

One day as I was warily munching a cookie, I saw Mr. Peabody circling, sizing me up for the attack that was certain to follow, but that day I did not flee. Something had come over me and instead of running for the apartment I ran for a large stick I had noticed on the ground just outside the door.

Someone, or Some Thing had put that stick there for a reason and I was quite certain I knew what the reason was. I grabbed the stick and confronted Mr. Peabody.

Now most of the turkeys I have known are not terribly bright and Mr. Peabody being no exception kept charging me with his wings flapping, his beak squawking, and his talons kicking up dust as if he expected this to be just another easy victory for him in the never ending Cookie Wars.

Au contraire.

I smacked him full force right in the side, “dusting him off” so to speak and releasing a small cloud of turkey feathers from him and a large “Whoop!” from me. This shocked him for an instant, but then he rejoined the battle in earnest and came at me again complaining even louder than before.

With new found courage and drunk from the power that only MWTD, Massive Weapons of Turkey Destruction can provide, I stood my ground and let him have it again. This time he grew some intelligence and ran from me.

He actually ran from me!

I couldn’t believe it!

Of course I had to chase him now.

Memories of all the times of torment suffered, all the skinned knees, and all the hurt pride and of all the cookies lost flooded my mind.

I was going to have my satisfaction. I chased that poor bird all around the yard, giddy with my newly found manhood and laughing manically the whole time.

Mr. Peabody ended up running into the entrance to the stairwell leading to our apartment and promptly got stuck behind the water heater. As much as I hated that turkey I did not want him to die stuck behind that appliance in that awful way. I tried in vain to poke him out, but had to give up when called in to supper.

Panic had started growing in my mind at that point, as I knew I would be blamed for the untimely end of The Gracious and Good Mr. Peabody even though I am certain there had been no witnesses.

Well, the damn bird did end up dying there and horribly so I am sure, and at the time I was somewhat remorseful, but as I look back on that experience, no longer am.

May he rot in Hell! 

And even though relentlessly interrogated and upon more than one occasion, I never confessed to the murder of the Beloved Mr. Peabody–Until this day.

And I am optimistically confident I can trust you not to drop a dime…

Jury Duty, Texas Style Part Two

Part One Here.

After we had all settled in with our coffees and doughnuts graciously provided by Hunt County we began our deliberation by comparing notes from the previous day’s testimony. It didn’t take me long to figure out that not everyone had the same impressions of what had transpired. Therefore the first order of business was to pull everyone closer together on the ‘facts’ we could agree upon:

  1. The defendant, ‘Mr. Johnson’ was definitely at the scene at the time in question, approximately ten p.m.

  2. He gained entry into the trailer

  3. The girl, ‘Miss Shelton’ was in the trailer

  4. The defendant did take the shotgun

  5. The defendant was intoxicated when he was arrested

  6. All three of the principals knew each other

Miss Shelton’s testimony was that she had been asleep on the couch when Mr. Johnson kicked in the door and upon discovering her in the house grew violent, found the gun and proceeded to yell while pointing it at her and threatening to “Blow her f*#king head off!” if she didn’t stop screaming. She further testified that he began searching the living room looking for drugs all the while keeping the gun on her.

She said Johnson kept screaming, “Where’s the f*#king dope! Where’s the f*#king dope?” Then she said after a few minutes the owner of the trailer, ‘Mr. Rogers’ came in, shouted at Johnson and ran over to her, yelling at him to “get the f*#k out of my house!” The defendant grabbed the bottle of whiskey from his hand and ran out with the gun, got in his truck and sped away, slinging mud and gravel. Rogers called the police and approximately ten minutes later they arrived.

Johnson claimed that Rogers had given him permission to borrow the gun and to come by his house that night to pick it up. He said there was no altercation.

This was flatly denied by Rodgers. It had come out during testimony that the defendant had a record of violence, which we were supposed to ignore, as the objection from the defense was sustained.  It had also come out that the defendant had a back full of tattoos which displayed things like ‘cop killer’ and other unsavory images. The objection to this from the defense was also sustained, but not before Johnson had turned his back to the jury and pulled up his shirt. We were also supposed to ‘un-see’ the tattoos. Of course, I don’t think we were able to fully comply with either of these admonitions.

It had also been revealed that both the defendant and Rogers had been involved with drugs in the past.

It quickly became apparent that this was a simple case of ‘He said, She said, and He (Rogers) said’. So that is how we were to approach our deliberations. Who did we believe?

Rodgers had testified that he had been home with Miss Shelton up until approximately one hour before the alleged break in, but had gone out to purchase some whiskey before the stores closed (at nine p.m.) He ran into some buddies and stayed gone much longer than he had intended. He testified that when he finally did return sometime around ten p.m. he walked in on the defendant pointing the gun at Miss Shelton. He described her as visibly shaking and crying hysterically.

The defendant testified that when Rogers arrived he was walking out of the house with the gun he had been given permission to borrow crooked under his arm and that he had not threatened Miss Shelton or had even harsh words with her.

After the police questioned Miss Shelton and Rogers they went off in pursuit of the defendant and arrested him at eleven thirty-five. He had the shotgun in his possession and the bottle of Wild Turkey, which was about three-quarters full. He was taken to the Commerce City jail and booked on DUI.

The next day he was transferred to the Hunt County Jail and charged with the additional charges of assault and robbery.

We were shown photos of the trailer door, which did appear to have some damage, but we were also shown (by the defense) other photos of the general disrepair of the entire trailer. It was difficult to discern with certainty if the damage to the door was from someone kicking it in or just from general wear and tear and neglect.

These are the basics of the testimony.

Tomorrow I will get into the finer details and the heated deliberation.

Part Three Here

“An’ We Drank a lot of Whiskey”

I saw Willie live and in color, Commerce, ETSU Gym, Circa 1976.

David Allen Coe opened the show… for three hours.

Willie was late.

Again.

Didn’t Matter: I would have waited all night.

He opened (as always) with “Whiskey River”

The crowd went nuts and I spilled my Wild Turkey 101…