Turkeys and the Expensive Fork

Posted by Missouri Rev on Feb 24th, 2006

While driving home from Richmond today I took my usual meandering backwoods route. I enjoy studying the land — the farms, forests, creeks, and hollers that make up my county. The dirt roads are nearly always empty, leaving me room to cruise along at about 15 mph, which is very useful in turkey counting, a pastime my daughter and I took up some years ago. Today I counted 104 turkeys between 3 separate flocks that were moving through some soybean and corn fields about 2 miles from home. The record thus far is 144 turkeys. No matter how many or how often I see these beautiful birds, I am always blessed to behold the bountiful creation of God. What’s unknown by most, however, is the fact that all turkeys wear a calendar watch and, thus, disappear during the hunting season, as if it was planned. I sometimes wonder if they are off attending turkey survival school during these times. Last year on the last day of the fall turkey season I set up a camouflaged blind in a field where the turkeys are known to frequent in the evening before roosting in the large trees nearby. I never so much as saw a turkey, though I did hear some tittering in the bushes on the other side of the field, well out of range of course. Exactly 24 hours later I drove by the same field and wouldn’t you know it, a flock of 12 plump turkeys was casually meandering towards the exact spot where my blind had been set and had come within 15 yards of it with the sun in their feathered faces. It must be a conspiracy . . . I can still hear them tittering.

I am the reacquainted and humbled owner of a rather expensive fork. Not that it started out expensive, as it is one of those cheap bimetal forks from China that most “financially challenged” pastors are quite familiar with. It became very expensive, however, upon the discovery of a journey it mysteriously took . . . into the inner sanctum of the primary “porcelain pony” of our household. You know how the routine goes; it backs up and you get out the plunger and bingo, it’s back to normal. Only in this case “back to normal” lasted just a few days, whereupon Mount Vesuvius gave us another unpopular announcement. With our muscles aching from plunging the problem to death, we sought a more aggressive remedy . . . the toilet snake. After a thorough and vigorous use, our pony relented briefly to normality, only to announce further problems a day or two later, but now the problem was reoccurring faster. Thank God, we have two more toilets in the church sanctuary, even if the heat is turned way down during the winter, except on the Lord’s Day. The brisk temperatures make for quick visits . . . hmmm, maybe if I left the heat down during the service more people would be apt to return quickly to one of my “short sermons” following a visit to the facilities. After applying the big guns — our community roto-rooter — to no avail, I began to wonder if something else was amiss, so I removed the stool from its base, cleaned it, and then tested it in the bathtub, which was semi-conclusive and just enough to lead me – Inspector Porcelain – in the wrong direction. I then tested the drain pipe with large quantities of water and it appeared normal. With the mystery intensifying, a suggestion was made that the drain vent was somehow blocked. To check this out one of the brethren from our church put on his coveralls and descended through a narrow opening (for which I do not fit) into the pit below the bathroom. He soon sorted out the myriad of pipes that converge there and found the correct vent stack. After testing it briefly it was determined that it was, after all, the wayward pony. I soon procured a suitable replacement (tall enough for the tall man I am) and installed it. Of course, the old tank had a different bolt pattern than the new base, so a new tank was needed as well. So after $100 dollars and plenty of poor investigative work on my part, our porcelain pony was back to perfect working condition, a real relief to my family! I’ll never take for granted how great a working toilet really is. Now, with my curiosity peeked and having a real desire to commence a rapid and glorious departure of the failed pony, I took a hammer to it and soon discovered the battered fork firmly lodged within it. How it got there I’ll never know. The only clues I have thus far point to the mysterious household troublemaker all of us know by the name of “I don’t know.” With all I have in this ugly fork I suppose I ought to mount it somewhere as a reminder.

8 Responses

  1. JFC Says:

    Hilarious story, Tom. It’s good to read another post from you. And I look forward to seeing the priceless souvenier mounted in your abode

  2. Missouri Rev Says:

    Jon, I thought to hire the services of our resident poet in writing a four liner that tells in a humorous manner the story and lesson and then mounting the priceless souvenir in a frame with the poem to hang upon the wall above the new commode. Perhaps it can then recoup some of its hefty price by preventing the start of a very expensive silverware set.

  3. Herrick Kimball Says:

    I really enjoy reading plumbing misery stories because I’ve had my share of them (some of my own and many helping others). Not that I have taken any delight in your misfortune… I think it’s more a matter of misery loves company. 😉

    But I’m very glad to know everything is now working.

  4. Emily Says:

    We have a couple of mysterious household troublemakers here as well. One is named Nobody and the other is Not Me. Perhaps you could use the fork as a unique handle on your new tank? ;^D

  5. reformed farmer Says:

    The wonders of modern plumbing. Right now our toilet is froze, yup froze, and I’ve got a wife thats “with child” and would really like a working toilet. But alas… God, in His providence, had us planted in Alaska our first year of marrige. No indoor plumbing is old hat for us. We had an outhouse up there, and a neat little wooden box with a toilet seat nailed to it and a 5 gallon pail inside. This for the women and children on really cold nights.

    Your story reminds me of many farm machinery repairs I’ve had over the years :)

  6. Missouri Rev Says:

    Herrick, with all of the ground water here, there are innumerable sump pump stories between us. If the power goes out for any length of time during a summer deluge, basements flood. With a few soggy epics behind us we finally have a system in place where we can fire up a generator fairly quickly . . . if we are home. Thank God for other brethren close by in our community who can come over and get it going when we are not here.

    Emily, yes, indeed, we also have to deal with the twin troublemakers “nobody” and “not me.” BTW, I like the idea of making the handle for our new tank out of the infamous fork.

    Scott, beside our parsonage sits the old outhouse, a two-seater. I do not know when it was last used or even if it still functioning. Though it is showing signs of dilapidation, I find it hard to tear down. You mention farm machinery repairs, I couldn’t imagine working on the behemoth farm equipment today with all of the incredibly complex and hard to reach technology jammed in them. I had a friend that use to restore old tractors, which was a delight to watch since they were so straight forward and simple.

  7. bob Says:

    I enjoyed reading about your plumbing adventure! For some reason I am foolish enough to own a box with plumbing tools, so I am aware of how a minor plumbing issue can evolve into the departure of many dollar bills!

    Oh, and by the way, thanks for the tip concerning the church restroom! Here I have been praying for the poor folks at church, concerned about the weak bladders and upset stomachs, sympathizing with what I assumed was their great grief for having to leave during the middle of a good sermon!

    I’m glad to hear of the robust turkey population. We have are blessed to have a healthy number of wild turkeys in this area and while I do not hunt for them, my neighbor sometimes shares his bounty. I did salvage a turkey a couple winters ago that did not survive a collision with a snowmobile. Excellent flavor, but a bit dry.



  8. Confederado Says:

    Funny about Turkeys like that. South Carolina Wildlife sells a poster of a Tom in full display in a field of April flowers called “April Fool.” (the season here is over April 1)

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