NORMAN — “On the shores of Gitche Gumee,” the opening line of the Henry Wadsworth Longfellow poem “The Song of Hiawatha” comes to mind as we scan the 4,000 runners participating in a local Thanksgiving Day Turkey Trot.
Considering the occasion, you would think that if a poem had to pop into your head it would be about a turkey. And turkeys were plentiful on the brisk Thanksgiving morning.
As you would expect, there were turkeys on the prize table and some runners got into the spirit of things with turkey headgear: the plucked and baked turkey hat bobbed on the heads of the silly and brave; while others preferred the “live” turkey complete with feathers, wattles included.
While we waited for the race to start, a couple of kids were engaged in a turkey neck “fight,” which is similar to ticked off giraffes smacking each other with their necks, but not as loud or dangerous. The kids’ version entailed lowering the head and swinging the turkey neck at the opponent’s turkey neck. The resulting giggles and further good natured thwacking was enjoyed by the participants as well as several bystanders.
Actually, the poem came to mind because several runners showed up in American Indian garb of one sort or another. However, the trio dressed from head to toe with feather headdresses, “leather” clothes and long braids stood out from the crowd, particularly the older woman with white-haired braids down to her rumpus.
Two young women wore something akin to colorful ballet tutus, but upon closer observation those things were in fact turkey tails. As an imitation tom turkey passed the tutu tails, he yelled “Like your turkey tails, ladies.” Now, that’s a unique pickup line. Wonder how long it took him to think that up?
The Turkey Trot benefited the miracle League of Frisco, Texas, which gives children with mental and/or physical problems the chance to play team sports. In fact, the first race was the Miracle Mile run by such disabled children.