Even Turkeys get a Workout

IMG_1204One thing I’ve learned in this fiction writing journey is that the simplest things are often the most difficult.  Why?  Because a lot of work went into making that item look simple.  When I started writing, I thought one sat at a computer and just told the story.  Then I learned about pacing and how to keep the story moving forward.  I learned about where to place the power words to allow the sentence to make the most impact.  i learned dialogue could be more than dialogue – it could be banter with insight to character and subtext.  The simplest things require prep work and skill, otherwise they fall flat.

The same is true with turkeys!  🙂

Here in the states, every year about this time, the President pardons a turkey and thus saves it from becoming a roasted turkey.  It’s a good public relations move which allows for some joking and a nod to the National Turkey Federation.  The cute event will most likely be on television, so the turkeys have todinner be on their best behavior.

Now turkeys are a pretty exciteable lot, and not too bright as my acquiantance who once had a turkey farm told me.  They have to be trained to stand quietly on a table and be photographed.  I read an article about a man who does just that.  He chooses his pardon candidates from a selection of 80 turkeys and narrows them down to just two.  He trains them by lifting them from the ground to the table and then lifts them white turkeyfrom the table to the ground, twice a day for two hours each session.  They are isolated in a small training shed where loud music and sports (crowd noises) are played to get them used to strange ambient noises.  The trainer also introduces the turkeys to his dogs as the turkey cages will be checked by the Secret Service dogs when they approach the White House.  He doesn’t want the turkeys to get rattled by that check.  The trainer takes flash photographs of the birds while they’re up on the table so they’ll get used to the flashes and he invites school kids in to pet the turkeys so they’ll become adept at strangers handling them.

It’s a lot of work for 15 minutes of fame!  I have to say, I’ll be watching the film clip of the official pardoning with a better appreciation of the work involved.

And, if nothing else, I read these days looking at how authors make complicated emotions and plot transitions look so easy.  Nothing is ever simple, is it?

So tell me, dear readers, what have you found that looked easy at first but proved difficult on execution?   Was it creating a yule log, or a gingerbread house?  (I find the best cooking disasters involve chocolate.  Even if the project fails, it’s good to eat 🙂 )  Was it putting together a “some-assembly-required” project?  Or how about learning to drive a car?  It does get easy eventually, but seems impossible at the beginning.Tiny Treats

Let’s share accomplishments and I’ll send someone who leaves a comment one of my ebooks – your choice – OR – I have an autographed copy of “LAIRD” by Grace Burrowes.  But we’ll work that out later.

For a really treat,  don’t forget to download your FREE copy of Holiday Treats today!

Thank you Morguefile free photos for providing the photographs for this blog.


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  • Jane says:

    Hello Donna,
    I’ve always wondered how the lucky turkey got chosen. It seems that every time I try to bake something it never comes out as well as it should. This happens when the ingredients come out of a box and takes minimal work, but something always goes wrong.

    • Hi Jane!
      Well, today, you get to let the GR cook for you!

      LOL – I like to cook recipes that have photos of how the finished product is supposed to look – but mine NEVER looks like that. But as long as it tastes good, and as you say – minimal effort – it’s all good. 🙂

  • catslady says:

    That’s so interesting. It never would have occurred to me that all that work was put into a quick photo shoot! Really if you think about it everything pretty much has to be learned and those that are the best at things always make it look easy. Since it’s almost turkey day, I think getting a meal on the table with everything ready at the same time takes a lot of practice lol.

    • Hi Catslady –

      Aint’t that the truth! Even something as simple as making gravy becomes an art after so many years. We forget all the cooking experience we bring to the table until one of our kids decide it’s their time to host the big meal and have all those timing issues 🙂

  • Amy Conley says:

    My fil has this saying and I’ve figured out he’s 100% correct: Even the easiest thing is hard enough.

    I find it’s true in almost every aspect off life.

  • flchen1 says:

    There are a great number of things that when properly executed look incredibly easy but in reality aren’t actually so! Dancing contains many of these feats, including pirouettes (turns on one leg)… Even the basics of household chores (say, laundry, or making sure the bathroom’s clean…) can be a challenge until you’ve done it enough times 🙂 And as catslady says, getting everything in a meal to the table hot at the right time? I STILL don’t have that one down. Poor DH! 😉

    • Hi Fichen!

      Dancing is an excellent example. Ginger Rogers and Fred Astaire made dancing look so light and easy, but that took years of training. The laundry…we have the pink underwear and the shrunken sweaters to testify that it’s not all tossing clothes in and adding hot water 🙂 It’s easy to forget that even laundry is a learned skill.

  • Shannon says:

    My failure sometimes is to forget to put soda in whatever I’m cooking. Frisbees.

    The other thing I am struggling more and more with is remembering names. Or linking names to an activity, an author to a book. I suppose it’s time to talk to a doctor for an evaluation to determine if it’s old age or something else.

    • Hi Shannon –

      What are frisbees? Okay – I know about the plastic-saucer-high-flying-dogs-love-em frisbees, but I’ve not heard of an edible version.

      FWIW – I think I might be suffering from the same affliction. I know the names of people when I’m face-to-face with them, but recalling them from memory – like the name of a movie star in a certain film – is difficult. I can see their faces but the name alludes me. I think it’s an age-related dying of the small connections in the brain. Eventually, I’ll remember the name I needed, but the conversion will have moved on to another topic by then 🙂

      • Shannon says:

        They are say chocolate chip cookies that are just a solid flat mess. They should be edible, but without the soda, they’re hard and round. So the only option is flinging in the direction of the trash. Sometimes the dog will jump up thinking this is a game with food.

  • Deb says:

    Getting a large meal together so that everything stays hot can be a challenge. Thank goodness for 4 burners on a stove that work and a microwave and a crock pot.

    I made a pumpkin roll a long time ago (it was delish) and it was really quite easy. Ha, the second time I made it, it all fell apart. Served it in bowls and added whipped cream to the top. I don’t think anyone thought my Pumpkin Dessert was really a Pumpkin Flop?

    • Deb –

      LOL on the pumpkin roll “not-so-much” of a disaster. How could it be when made with pumpkin? I make about four – six pumpkin rolls every holiday season. They’re easy – it’s like the sweet cream cheese filling fixes everything and glues the cake pieces that wouldn’t drop from the jellyroll pan back together. But every now and then, I’ll forget the nuts. Or I’ll forget to add the baking powder in the cake. Old age & late hours iin the kitchen just don’t go together 🙂

  • Donna, what a fun post! One of my favorite episodes of The West Wing was the turkey pardoning Thanksgiving one. It was hilarious! Now I guess actor turkeys have this same training you mention.

    When I was in high school, I made a lot of my clothes. Some years later, I was in a wedding and the dress needed to be made. So I decided to do it myself. I hadn’t allowed for the difficulty of setting a zipper in a bodice that had a sheer overlay on the bodice and a heavily gathered skirt (8 yds of fabric in just the skirt, which also had a sheer, equally gathered overlay). The challenge turned out to be fun, and I loved the dress when it was finished. Alas that I never had anywhere else to wear it.

    • Nancy –

      Eight yards of fabric in the skirt? Wow. I bet when you were working on it, you didn’t describe the experience as “fun.” 🙂 But I bet it was beautiful when you were finished.

      I’m often guilty of the “I can do that” syndrome. I’ve probably seen too many Gidget movies 🙂 Everything looks so easy until you roll up your sleeves and give it a try.

  • Donna, loved hearing about the ‘lucky’ turkey. Bit rough on the other one, though! Turkey is the traditional meat for Christmas here and there’s no reprieves thanks to a generous prime minister. Maybe we should get something like this going!

  • Jeanne Adams says:

    Hey Donna! I’m LOL about the writing process. I thought the same thing. Grins.

    And am laughing about the turnkey pardoning being such an ordeal for the guy who owns the turkey! Ha!

    There are so many things that “seem” easy, but are SO not easy! Taking good pictures. Using a leaf blower (there’s a definite art to it!) painting. Oh…so many, many things.

    I’ve finally got the turkey cooking down, and pie making, but only by dint of much practice! Grins.

    • Jeanne –

      Had to laugh. The dh and ( decided to buy a fancy new tv as our 41st anniversary present to each other. He wanted the new tv, I wanted to get rid of all the black boxes and big speakers that had accumulated around the old tv.

      He picked it up today. Clearing away the old boxes and speakers – easy, right? No such thing. They were wired into outside speakers and threaded underneath the bookcases….big pain.
      You just never know…

      • Jeanne Adams says:

        OMGosh, yes!! I tell ya, we did that – replaced TVs – over the last few years. What a job of work! Hahah!

        But worth it. All our old TVs were old enough to drink, dance, and go to war. Snork!

  • Kim says:

    Even turkey pardons are staged. Who would have thought that? Whenever I decide to paint a room it always takes longer than anticipated.

    • Kim –

      Isn’t that the way? Don’t you just love those Home Depot commercials where the husband and wife transform a house with creative painting in a day! They forgot to mention the priming the walls first, or pulling off old wallpaper – which is what we’ll be doing in a few days. Argh….

  • I like Amy’s FIL’s saying and it is all too true. Even the easiest thing is hard enough!

    When I first started decorating cakes I thought I would NEVER get it. People made it look so easy and it was definitely NOT! My decorators have all started from scratch and I always tell them “You learn by doing.” Fortunately my decorators have far surpassed my skill level and I take a certain amount of pride in unlocking their creativity.

    Writing a novel? Are you KIDDING me! There are so many authors who made it look SO easy to me. When I started writing my own it was definitely an eye-opening experience! Sheesh! This stuff is H – A – R – D! There are days I think I’d rather lift an untrained ticked off turkey onto a table for two hours than make sense of my WIP.

    Oh and riding horses. The two little old ladies who taught me made it look SO SIMPLE! My nine year old self just KNEW she could do something these two sixty year old ladies could do. Several spills, stompings and launchings over fences and hedges later I knew better.

    • Hi Louisa!

      I call that “invisible writing.” The sort of writing that reads so easy that you don’t realize all the skill that goes into creating that passage.

      Before I tried writing I used to paint. In fact, I was the president of the local art league. We had a very talented watercolorist come be a guest speaker at a meeting. He painted a picture and made it seem so easy. About an hour into the meeting, one of the members asked, “How long does it take you to paint a picture?” He said, “this picture here has taken be 28 years, eight months, and ten hours.” It took that long to make painting with watercolors that easy.

      I’d love to learn to ride a horse, but at this point I’m not sure my sixty year old body could handle the learning experience 🙂