First, I am not a hunter. I do my best hunting in the back aisle of the ShopRite but for some strange reason my friend Steve convinced me to go turkey hunting for my Thanksgiving meal. Before I could say “gobble, gobble” I was in a camouflaged 4×4 riding down a dirt road looking for a place to shoot a turkey. I was dressed top to bottom in all camouflaged clothing. I looked like a fat Navy Seal who was just dropped into an Iraqi war zone. Steve even had his face painted in three camo colors and he had a hat on covered with netting and tree branches.

“Are we going to run up to the turkey and scream Trick or Treat and scare it to death?” I asked him, “What do we do now Kemo sabe?”

“Sit and wait.” he said as he handed me a camouflaged shotgun and three shells that I put in my pocket.

Steve then walked about a 100 yards the other way and sat down under a tree. Even the shotgun had netting on it! Now this was getting real strange to me. I was totally out of my element and comfort zone. I am a city boy, born and bred, so sitting in the woods on the cold ground dressed up like a maple tree with a shotgun is out of my league.

Now if I was in a dark alley, with a Saturday night special in my hand and getting paid to shoot that turkey I would feel right at home, but this?

Two hours had passed and every animal put on this planet passed by me. A deer, squirrels, chipmunks, a ground hog and believe it or not a small bear – but not one turkey. Steve started to call in the turkeys with a turkey call. Now it was one hour later, I was getting hungry, had to go number one and both my legs had fallen asleep. Just when I was about ready to shoot myself for listening to Steve I saw it. It was a big beautiful male turkey. It looked like an American Indian chief taking a walk in the woods.

Well since I saw it first and it was on my side of the woods I was going to take the shot. I had its head and neck in my sights when I started to think, “How would I feel if I was just taking a walk in the woods and someone dress like G.I. Joe took a shot at me? Really, did I need to kill this beautiful bird when I can get one from the store or better yet, take the family out for a turkey dinner? This bird was on the short list to become the Nation’s bird if Ben Franklin had his way. The turkey turned right towards me. It was now or never. It was about 25 yards from me when I screamed “Trick or Treat?” and he got a running start and jumped into the air and flew off. I felt good about myself riding home on that bumpy road, besides, when I got back to Steve’s house I noticed that the three shotgun shells he had given me, had never left my pocket!

To you and your family, have a great Thanksgiving.

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Tony has lived in Lake Hopatcong since 1987. He has a bachelor’s degree in American literature from Ramapo College, a New Jersey teacher’s certificate, and a master’s in business administration from Fairleigh Dickinson University. Tony’s column, “For What It’s Worth,” appeared in Aim Jefferson for nine years. He recently retired after 46 years in the corporate world. Tony can be reached at