Turkey Bowl
by Jack Watt

Some 5 or 6 years ago or maybe longer, while my wife was out-of-town for Thanksgiving, a friend whom I shall call Pete called and asked if I wanted to try a new sport he had just invented. The bells and whistles that sounded in my head should have warned me that his statement was the makings of something painful, illegal or worse… Something I might totally regret later on. Let me start by first introducing Pete.

Pete, not his real name is the type of guy every group of men need in their brotherhood. He is used to sustain some type of manhood remembrance when said brotherhood men are married. He is the one each one of us takes turns inviting to Thanksgiving each year, but insist he brings nothing per your wife instructions.
Pete is the most likeable guy, normally carries the weight of 265-300 with a height of 6′ 3″. He was the guard and tackle on the school football team. A heart as big as his body but brains as small as a chicken and that bring me back to my story about ”Bowling with turkey’s”.

We had an early blast of cold air so anything you pull out of the freezer would stay frozen or at least cold for sometime if it was outside. When I questioned Pete as to his new sport, he just claimed it was great and to come over. Again I hear the big bells and loud horns blasting in my head. “OK, I’m free for a few hours” I replied once again toning out the warning signs.
I live in the country and Pete lives in town. His house sets on top of a hill that at one time was going to be a big home development, but the company went broke and Pete got the only house built and the only house at the top of the hill. The street or his driveway which he calls it is about 900 yards down to the first intersection or the tee. Across the drive was a large open field that contained briers, stumps and a few tires. Before hanging up, Pete informed me I should park at the bottom of the hill but I better hurry.
Upon arrival, I found out real quick why I was informed to NOT drive up his hill. Pete, I later found out, had allowed his garden hose to run down the hill covering the whole drive with a 1″ layer of ice. Bells, whistles and horns all at the same time.

Lucky the old builders had put in one sidewalk so I had good footing going up. Upon arrival, I did ask him what his plans were if his house caught fire and the Fire Department couldn’t get up the hill. “Never thought of that” he said but he would keep that in mind. You guess it… bells and horns.
“Buddy, this is a blast and I know you are going to enjoy it” Peter shouted. “Watch this!”
Peter took a frozen roasting chicken still in the plastic netting, and with an eagle eye and strong-arm he tossed the chicken down his drive like he was bowling. I was amazed at the speed and distance it traveled. Not for lack of speed but his aim was a little off, it hit the curb about half way down, flew up about 10 feet before hitting a tree 50 feet away. The bells, whistles and horns stopped playing. This was something I could have fun with.
“Is that the only frozen chicken you got?” Hoping he had at least one more, the walk down and back up would quickly turn this sport into work and that would kill it.
“I got one more plus a turkey and some packages of hamburger.”

We tossed the remaining food packets and decided the hamburger was wasteful since they didn’t have the weight to build up speed and to carry them down the hill. Before walking down and retrieving our ammo, we took his trash can, an old lamp and other odd objects we would place point values to as targets. With everything in place, it was decided next trip down we would make an ammo run to the local store.
A 30 gallon plastic trash can stand no chance when hit by a 5 lb frozen chicken traveling at 100 mph. The turkey weighting in at 12.4 lbs would have taken out an armor troop carrier had one been driving by. We made the first run then took off to the store were we acquired three more roasting hens and Pete was set on getting a bigger turkey. (I thought I heard a bell ringing).

Looking at the temperature on the bank clock, it was 28 so we had cool bowling temperature. Back at his house, we watered down the drive keeping in mind that we wanted no bumps. (Can’t remember if he ever told me what is water bill was that month).
Everything was ready and we commenced on bowling. The thrill was there but still it was missing something. Something that is always at the back of your mind, that something your mother always told you NOT to do. Still to this day I can’t remember what it was but I am sure she would have said something.
After 5 turns each, the targets that were hit had become unmarked objects for the trash man. The walk was getting longer each trip so we decided that on our last toss we would leave the ammo for the birds or other critter that happen to be out looking for a meal.

Off subject here: Have you ever noticed that when everything is going right and you get ready to quit, you should have quit the last go around.

We made our last tosses with only the big mommy turkey left. Pete since it was his game, his ammo and his water felt he should make the last toss. I being a gentleman agreed and stood to the side as my friend lined up for the granddaddy toss. His goal was to get enough force behind this bird to send it across the intersection and into the field some 1000 yards away.
Now a man or woman who is trying to beat the world record in turkey tossing (If there is one) needs some heavy encouragement and I was there to give it to him. I built him up to the crowd, the ESPN announcers were in awe. Even the Goodyear blimp was standing by to capture this great… The greatest toss ever!!

STOP: I must tell you that at no time did we ever think about our own safety over each other. Heck I would never have told him to do something that could harm him and Pete is the same way.

So when he said he was going to do the Underarm Windup Pitch Toss, who was I to stop him in his glory?
Looking down the hill, Pete rocked back in his stance and brought the turkey in a full circle with a scream only a rugby player could grunt. As the turkey circled around all the cameras went to slow motion. Each drop of sweat flying off his head was caught on camera for the rerun show. What letters were left on the package could have been read by a 5th grade teacher had she been in the stands, the motion was Slowwwwww. Until the release;
Pete in his deep concentration forgot to take his hand out of the plastic handles. The weight of this big Tom turkey plus the perfect release sent the turkey and Pete down the hill dead center at a speed I never thought possible. It was like a cartoon from the past, frozen turkey ball followed by man.

I stood there is awe. What a remarkable toss, I was waiting for the announcers to come interview me as to why Pete decided to chase the turkey. At the bottom of the hill or at the intersection, the turkey hit the curb than bounce up just missing Pete’s head. Pete had managed to turn just enough to hit the curb with shoulder and not head. Both man and bird didn’t make the longest flight into the next field but had the blimp been there, the film would have made the all time list.
I am hearing bells, whistles, horns and sirens sounding now. I raced down to Pete and found him laid out screaming like a little kid. “Man did you see that” I asked, “Pete you were awesome, you rule” I shouted.
His screaming stopped except for short spurts but a smile came over his face as he tried to ask if I was telling the truth.
“Pete my man, you are the best” I figured I had better lay it on thick, so he could apply that mind over matter stuff. After a few minutes I helped him up and slowly with great pain, I got him up to his house.
By now his arm was turning blue and a very large bruise started appearing on his ribs so it was determined that maybe he should seek out a doctor.
“I can’t move” Pete said. “What” I replied looking at his beat up body and hoping I wouldn’t laugh anymore.
“I can’t move, I’m to sore you are going to have to bring the doctor here.”
“Now Pete, I just can’t go running down to the store and grab a doctor off the shelf.”
“They got’em at the hospital”
“Yes Pete they do and that is where I’m taking you as soon as I figure out how”
Seeing the black and blue on his chest was growing I figured I’d better hurry or poor Pete might not make it.
“911 what is your emergency?”
“Yes sir, my friend is hurt petty bad, I think you better send an ambulance.”
“What is wrong with your friend sir”
“Well, he might have a broken arm and his ribs are looking real bad.”
What is your name sir and are you at 234 High Court?”
“Ahh yes that is right, his name is Pete, Pete Beebe.”
“What happened sir?”
I thought for a second, how can I explain what happen? “Not quite sure really, I think he fell down on some ice and slid down his driveway.”
The 911 operator asked a few more questions than stated an ambulance and the fire department would be there shortly.
Now it turned out, Pete had a couple of broken ribs, a broken wrist and the doctor was worried about a concussion since Pete kept talking about making the best turkey toss.
Sometimes folks you just gotta listen to those bells, whistles and horns.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

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