Interview with Redneck
Interview with Redneck
Yes, I know it may not be politically correct to use the term, Redneck, but my friend, Gus the Redneck – that’s what Gus calls himself – is a gentleman and a scholar. In fact it was he who suggested I might want to interview a Redneck.
Now how do I go about finding a specific Redneck to interview? I could put an ad in the newspaper – but few folks read the classified ads any more. So I picked up a copy of the book by Jeff Foxworthy, the comedian, “You Might be a Redneck if . . .” to learn how I could recognize a Redneck in the flesh.
Redneck Car Alarm
Here are a few of Jeff’s interesting observations:
“You might be a redneck if …
… your working television sits on top of your non-working television.
… you own a home with wheels on it and several cars without.
… you have a complete set of salad bowls and they all say Kool Whip on the side.
… you have spent more on your pickup truck than on your education."
Armed with this new information, now I had some idea what to look for. I learned there was a fellow who called himself a Redneck staying with his daughter just a few miles away. I drove there and asked to speak to him – a Mr. McCoy.
His daughter said he was in Hollywood making a movie for television about the Hatfields and the McCoys. “Is he going to appear in the film?” I asked. “No,” she said, “he’s not an actor. He’s a technical consultant.”
I asked if she knew of any other Rednecks I might visit and learned that a genuine, real, live Redneck might be found at the Last Chance Saloon at the edge of town. The tiny bar was deserted when I entered except for a bartender and a lone small figure huddled at a table in a dark corner.
me – Mr. Redneck, I presume. Mr. McCoy’s daughter said I might find you here.
Mr. Redneck – Why don’t you call me Tom?
me – Why do you hang out in this remote dark place, Tom?
Tom – Because I’m a little paranoid about meeting people for the first time.
me – Is that why you are wearing that hoodie that covers your face and body?
Tom – (Sarcastically) Very perceptive. Yeah, some folks want to shoot me on sight.
me – Why?
Genuine Redneck . . . Turkey
Tom – Because … (pauses dramatically as he removes hoodie) … I’m a genuine redneck …. A wild redneck turkey, that is!
me – (in shock) Well, I wanted to interview a genuine redneck and now I have found one. Would you be willing to share some redneck turkey facts and trivia with me?
Tom – Positively, I’m a proud member of the N.R.A.
me – (astonished) The National Rifle Association?
Tom – Of course not – I’m referring to the National Redneck Association. We redneck turkeys are a proud lot. Have you never noticed how proudly we strut?
me – Yes, I have. Your self-confident swagger is hard to ignore.
Why do turkeys strut?
Tom – Our 18 tail feathers – 12 to 15 inches long – form a large, prominent fan when we strut. We strut our stuff like peacocks during the spring breeding season to attract turkeys of the female persuasion. Pretty impressive, no?
me – Tom, you are a stunning sight.
Tom – If all our tail feathers are the same length, we are adult turkeys or toms. If the middle tail feathers are longer than the rest, you are looking at a young male turkey or what is called a jake.
me – If I’m not being too personal, what is that long red … uh, fleshy growth that hangs down from your forehead over your beak?
Tom – That’s called a snood.
me – I thought a snood was a sort of netlike cap worn by a school cafeteria worker – to keep her hair in place.
Tom – True, but they don’t also have that fleshy growth under their throat called a wattle.
me – Some people do.
Tom – I know but I was trying to be kind. And their snood and wattle aren’t bright red like mine.
me – Is yours always so red?
Tom – Only when I want to attract a hen (female turkey). Or fight another male turkey. Then my snood and my wattle and my caruncles become engorged with blood and turn bright red or at times, bright blue.
me – Caruncles?
Tom – Those are the fleshy growths or bumps all over my head and neck. Because of these three features, turkeys cannot keep a secret.
me – Why is that?
Tom – As you already know, when I’m excited all three of these growths turn bright red. But if I’m scared, they may turn blue. And if I’m feeling ill, they may become pale and colorless.
Wild turkey hens also have these same growths but they don’t put on a show to highlight their assets. Like Lady Gaga.
Can Turkeys Fly?
Tom – A wild turkey like me can fly a short distance (up to a quarter of a mile) at a speed of up to 55 miles per hour, and run at a speed of up to 25 miles per hour. But domesticated turkeys, those raised on turkey farms, are usually unable to fly. And they cannot run very fast either.
me – Why not?
Tom – They are raised on farms for profit and become so fattened up they weigh twice what a wild turkey does. They are not as colorful either since the great majority of domesticated turkeys are bred to have plain white feathers. Our darker colors help us blend into the woods.
me – Where do wild turkeys live?
Tom – Our ideal habitat is a woodland or savanna where we can fly beneath the canopy tree tops and find perches. We spend the night roosting in trees.
Plush Turkey Toys
Why do Turkeys Gobble?
Tom – Only male turkeys gobble; hens make a clicking sound. The gobble is a mating call for toms. When hens hear us they know we are hot to trot, turkey trot, that is. We also gobble when we hear loud noises and when we settle in for the night.
Our gobble also announces our presence to competing toms. Sometimes you can hear us a mile away.
me – I have heard hens yelp. Do toms yelp, too?
Tom – Hens yelp and jakes often yelp but the other sounds that toms make are clucks, purrs, cackles and ‘kee-kees.' Also, a low-pitched drumming sound and a ‘spit’ which is expelling air from an air sac in our chest. We produce very unusual sounds – like Justin Bieber.
After mating, hens prepare nest sites which are shallow dirt depressions surrounded by vegetation to conceal them. Hens lay a clutch of 10 to 14 eggs, usually one per day.
The eggs are incubated for at least 28 days. The poults are precocial and nidifugous, leaving the nest very quickly – about 12 to 24 hours after hatching.
me – Nidifugous? That’s a fifty dollar word.
Tom – (Laughs) Yes, I looked it up on the turkey search engine, Gobble. The word comes from the Latin nidus for nest and fugere meaning to flee.
me – How come turkey eggs are not available at the supermarket?
Tom – Turkeys are not the egg-producing machines that chickens are. It takes them longer than chickens to start producing eggs, and they produce far fewer eggs. Hens also tend to be more protective and will stay with the eggs until they hatch.
Where did the turkey get its name?
Tom – There are several theories you can choose from:
• Christopher Columbus gave turkeys the name, titka, which is the word for peacock in the Tamil language of India. Chris was a little confused; he thought the New World was connected to India.
• One of the Native American names for turkey is firkee.
• The wild turkey's call often sounds like turk-turk-turk.
• The Hebrew word tukki means big bird or pheasant bird.
me – I have learned that part of the scientific name for the turkey – genus: meleagris – is Greek for guineafowl.
Tom – Did you learn that from Gobble?
me – No, from Google.
Tom – Whatever. It’s true, because when Europeans first encountered us in the Americas, they thought we were a type of guineafowl which were also known as turkey fowl because they were imported to Central Europe through Turkey. The name, turkey fowl, shortened to 'turkey', became our name.
What do turkeys eat?
me – Do you have a favorite food?
Tom – I prefer lobster and filet mignon. Just kidding! We are omnivorous and can climb shrubs and small trees to feed on acorns, nuts, and various seeds as well as berries, roots and insects.
Occasionally we consume small reptiles such as lizards and snakes and amphibians like small frogs. My favorites are turtles … (laughing hysterically) … chocolate turtles!
Sometimes we feed in cow pastures … very carefully … visit backyard bird feeders, and enjoy scavenging seeds after a harvest. Our young poults eat insects, berries, seeds and grasses.
me – Who are the worst predators of turkey eggs and nestlings?
Tom – Raccoons, opossums, skunks, gray foxes, groundhogs, other rodents, rat snakes, gopher snakes and pine snakes are the worst enemies of our very young. Predators of adults include coyotes, bobcats, cougars, eagles, Great Horned Owls, domestic and wild dogs, and red foxes.
Don’t take this personally, but humans are at the top of the list. During Thanksgiving each year about 690 million pounds of turkey are eaten. But we understand. That is our Karma.
me – You certainly have a positive attitude.
Tom – I can answer that with an old joke: Question – Is turkey good for your health? Answer – Not if you are the turkey!
Six subspecies of Wild Turkey (Meleagris gallopavo)
• Eastern Wild Turkey - most common, ranges entire eastern half of U.S.
• Osceola Wild Turkey or Florida Wild Turkey - found on Florida peninsula.
• Rio Grande Wild Turkey - ranges through Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Colorado and parts of northwestern states.
• Merriam’s Wild Turkey - ranges along the Rocky Mountains and neighboring prairies of Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota.
• Gould's Wild Turkey - found throughout central portion of Mexico into parts of New Mexico and Arizona.
• South Mexican Wild Turkey - found only in Mexico
Top turkey-eating countries
How they measure up, per person per year::
• Israel – 25 lb 6 oz per person per year
• United States – 17 lb
• France – 13 lb
• United Kingdom – 10 lb 9 oz
• European Union – 8 lb 13 oz
• Canada – 4 lb 14 oz
Turkey Facts and Turkey Trivia
• Archaeological fossil evidence suggests turkeys roamed North America as far back as 10 million years ago. Native Americans domesticated them about 2,000 years ago.
• Spanish explorers took domesticated turkeys from Mexico to Europe in 1519.
• The 16th-century English navigator, William Strickland, is generally credited with introducing the turkey into England. His family coat of arms includes a tom turkey.
• The Pilgrims brought domesticated turkeys from England to America in 1620.
• In the early 1930s the wild turkey was on the verge of extinction with an estimated 30,000 remaining. Over-hunting reduced them to an endangered species. Today, more than 7 million roam across North America thanks to wildlife restoration programs,
• A male turkey is called a tom or gobbler and a female turkey a hen. A young turkey is a poult. A large group of turkeys is called a flock.
• Mature turkeys have 3,500 to 5,000 feathers.
• Each turkey’s foot has three toes. Both toms and hens have spurs. On hens, the appendages are small buttons. On toms, spurs are used to fend off other males when gathering a harem of hens. Spurs may grow to about an inch and a half long.
• The dewlap connects the neck to the head just under the beak and is present on both sexes. Like the snood, the wattle, and the caruncles, the dewlap turns bright red when the tom gets excited.
• While strutting, the tom drags his wing feathers on the ground as he puffs out his breast feathers and fans his tail. Savvy turkey hunters can read the tracks and drag marks from where a turkey has been strutting.
• Wild turkeys have excellent vision during the day but don't see as well at night.
• The turkey’s ears are simply small holes found just behind the eyes, and wild turkeys can home in on noises from a mile away.
• Wild turkey toms normally weigh from 11 to 24 pounds and measure 39 to 49 inches in length. Hens are typically smaller at 5 1/2 to 12 pounds and 30 to 37 inches long. The wingspan ranges from 49 to 57 inches.
• Turkey eggs are tan with speckles.
• The gizzard is a part of a turkey’s stomach that contains tiny stones to help it grind up food for digestion.
Common domesticated breeds include:
Broad Breasted Bronze
Broad Breasted Large White
Beltsville Small White
Domesticated Turkey Trivia
• It takes 17 to 20 weeks to raise a domesticated turkey that weighs 22 pounds or more. That bird will have consumed around 66 pounds of feed.
• Since the first feast in 1621, Thanksgiving Day was not celebrated annually. In 1863, Sarah Josepha Hale encouraged Abraham Lincoln to set aside the last Thursday in November "as a day for national thanksgiving and prayer." In Canada, it is celebrated the second Monday in October.
• North Carolina produces 61 million turkeys annually, more than any other state. Minnesota and Arkansas are number two and three.
• Estimated number of domestic turkeys raised in the United States in 2011 was 248 million.
• 90% of American homes eat turkey on Thanksgiving Day. 50% eat turkey on Christmas.
• Domestic turkeys are friendly and curious. They become friendly with the farmer, but gobble at strangers. They are easily frightened and may hurt themselves by flying into walls or piling atop each other, causing one or more birds to smother.
More Turkey Trivia
• There is no evidence that turkey was eaten at the first Thanksgiving, a three-day meal shared between the pilgrims and the Wamponoag tribe in 1621. It is more likely that they ate venison and seafood.
• Native Americans may have taught the Pilgrims how to cook cranberries and different kinds of corn, squash and pumpkin dishes.
• The origins of stuffing are not certain. Some experts say it's a traditional dish made from bread and vegetables which probably originated in Eastern Europe.
• In Mexico, the turkey was once considered a sacrificial bird.
• The Aztecs in Mexico considered ‘huexolotlin’ (the turkey) so important that they dedicated two religious festivals a year to the birds.
• The heaviest turkey ever raised weighed 86 pounds -- about the size of a large German Shepherd -- and was grown in England (Source: Texas Agricultural Extension Service).
• Eastern Native American tribes consumed both the eggs and meat of the turkey, sometimes turning the latter into a type of jerky to preserve it and make it last through cold weather.
• Many leaders, such as Catawba chiefs, traditionally wore turkey feather headdresses.
• Significant members of the Muscogee Creek and Wampanoag tribes wore turkey feather cloaks.
• Movements of wild turkeys inspired the Caddo tribe's turkey dance.
• But the Apache Indians considered the turkey timid and would not eat it nor use its feathers on their arrows.
Tom – Did you know that although he never said so publicly, Benjamin Franklin voiced opposition to the Bald Eagle as a national symbol of the U.S. in a letter to his daughter, Sarah Bache?
In 1784, Ben wrote ”… the Turkey is in Comparison (to the Bald Eagle) a much more respectable Bird, and withal a true original Native of America...”
Is that a positive endorsement or what? Have to fly now so I'll leave you with a chuckle I found on Gobble: Question – If you call a large turkey a gobbler what do you call a small one? Answer – A goblet.
me – Thanks for the fun- and fact-filled interview, Tom.
Important Note: Chris was even more confused than we knew. According to my learned friend and Tamil scholar, the correct word for peacock in the Tamil language is 'mayil.' Thank you, Docmo.
© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2012. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So." Includes most-needed, valuable information for older workers.
Tom's Turkey Quiz
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