Just got bitten by this turkey!

I received a text message from Gretta today which said simply ‘Just got bitten by this turkey!’ Attached was a picture of said bush turkey. Based on this limited information I will surmise what happened.

As I was going to be away for the weekend at a training exercise, Gretta and her mum decided to catch up for a girlie weekend in Sydney. On Saturday, they indulged in the usual activities like shopping, drinking coffee, more shopping, coffee, cake and dinner. Come Sunday morning, thinking some exercise would do them good, they embarked on a walk along the Sydney waterfront in the leafy north shore suburb of Mosman.

What you need to understand is that any walk with Gretta involves her constantly searching for cats. Remember the two year old girl with pony tails in a pink floral dress squeezing the life out of a dejected looking cat for pure joy? That’s Gretta. Any feline not secured behind closed doors is fair game. Once spotted, her prey is subjected to all manner of stalking, calling and inducements, short of whipping out a can of tuna, to get them to come and talk. Mostly they run away, but every now and then we come across a friendly one. Which is when I get into trouble.

While Gretta is giving the whole ‘puss puss puss’ thing a go, I’ll have slunk away so it’s clear to any onlooker; I’m not with the crazy cat lady. Alas, the moggies love me for it. They’ll trot right by Gretta who’s done everything right by kneeling down to be at their level and make for me instead. The guy who is totally ignoring them. When they start to head bump my ankles what can I do but shrug my shoulders in bewilderment?

‘I did nothing’ I plead, ‘I’m the victim here.’ But Gretta is unmoved. She stands on the footpath, hands on hips glaring at the two of us. Me for being the worst boyfriend ever and the cat for being so stereotypical. I may be a lousy boyfriend, but I’m no fool. On those rare occasions when we get a close encounter, the cat somehow finds its way to Gretta.

Cats may be scarce but dogs aren’t. I’ll run a mile to avoid them but Gretta will happily talk to them all. She had one accompany her for an entire 10km round trip. Likewise, any animal we come across while on a country walk, or having landed after flying, will be entreated to wonder over to the fence line for a pat or scratch behind the ear. I suspect the turkey enters our story in much the same way.

Imagine Gretta squatting down low, a safe distance from the bird with her hand out and talking softly, a model of non-threatening behaviour. Slowly the bird wanders over and with its beady eyes inspects her open but empty palm. Then bites it in disgust.

Maybe it was a bite-n-run? But no, they were in Mosman not Fairfield.