I heard the owl before I saw it.
I was walking down the road, trying to get in a few minutes of exercise before starting the turkey, and there it was. Loud and clear. Just a few yards up ahead.
Ducks. Fox. Squirrels. Deer. And owls. They make living in the country much better, in my opinion, than living in the city. But then again, I've been told bears are sometimes seen roaming New Jersey neighborhoods. New Jersey, can you believe it?
We've got feral hogs here in this part of Texas, but no bear.
Roasting the turkey was the final step in a day-long cook-a-thon in preparation for Thanksgiving. Cook everything the night before, bundle it all up safe and sound, and take it to the in-law's house in Ft. Worth. The only thing that could go wrong was the turkey would taste like cardboard and the whole family would be stuck eating green bean salad and cranberry sauce.
Nothing wrong with green bean salad and cranberry sauce, but it ain't turkey and dressing. Well, that's what I was thinking when I heard the owl.
I scanned the trees in front of me, dusk turning everything into silhouette, and thought, "Green bean salad? Did I volunteer for that, too? Please tell me I didn't."
I don't believe most guys would volunteer to cook any part of a Thanksgiving dinner, but volunteer I did. Pecan pie. Pumpkin pie. Dressing. And the turkey.
Gravy? Damn, I forgot the gravy, too.
"And what about rolls?" my wife asked later. "Ya can't have Thanksgiving without rolls."
The owl took flight, crossed the road, and landed in a tree a further down the way. I stopped walking for a moment until I heard him asking me questions.
"Who's gonna bring the whip cream? Who's fixing the fruit salad? Who's gonna know you used the cheap pie crusts?"
I only took a few more steps before it was off again, this time heading home into the deep woods.
It was nice getting out of the house. I'd been cooking pert near all day, but, crazily, didn't mind it.
Add. Stir. Melt. Pour. Place in oven. Read another chapter of my book until the timer goes off. Poke. Is it ready? Cool. Set aside. Play a bit of ukulele. Start all over again.
I looked into the woods, trying to see where the owl had landed, but it was no use. Owls are masters at blending into their environment.
I turned and walked back to mine.