Where’s Tom Turkey the Terrible now?

By Gerre Joiner | Published Saturday, March 5, 2016

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I’ve known sisters Glenda Clower Goodwin and Donna Clower Endres for many years. Glenda sent me a Facebook message, suggesting that I ask Donna about her experience with a wild turkey.

I was immediately interested.

Not long afterward, I had a phone conversation with Donna, during which she spoke in great detail about her scary exchanges with a turkey while walking in her rural neighborhood.

Gerre Joiner

Gerre Joiner

The first encounter was before Christmas 2015. Donna and the tom were on opposite sides of a fence. Donna thought it nice to have a feathered friend who kept up with her step for step, but she was a little concerned with the sinister look on the turkey’s face. You do know it’s possible for turkeys to have a “look.”

The next few months involved several close encounters with the animal. The turkey began looking for Donna to begin her walk, spy her, then run to the fence where he kept pace with her, step by step.

One day the turkey made its way to Donna’s side of the fence. The turkey proceeded to block Donna’s path. He then began attacking her, flying at her head several times and chasing her.

She screamed like a little girl.

The turkey chased her around a small tree. While being chased around the tree, she managed to dial her cell phone and call her neighbor, Cyndi Croxton. She told her friend of the situation. She told her about being chased by a crazy turkey.

A couple of minutes later, Donna saw Cyndi’s car flying down the road, but she didn’t stop. Eventually, she got turned around and came to the rescue.

Over the last few months, Donna has watched big rocks bounce off the turkey with no deterring effect. She’s broken a large stick over the animal’s head. She’s hidden behind trees and houses to avoid him.

She sent her husband, Marshall, out to slay the devil. He returned with nothing to report. (Apparently, this beast knew when to hide.)

The story has become the stuff of legend. Donna’s brother-in-law, Dale Wise, took it upon himself recently to rent a turkey costume, sneak up behind Donna at a family gathering and goose her.

Think of it: a turkey goosing someone!

Lately, the rascal (the real turkey … not the brother-in-law) started chasing vehicles!

A few days ago, Donna was walking near her house, and she saw Tom Turkey the Terrible chasing a pickup. She turned around and headed back home, hoping he was distracted by the task at hand.

Later that day, however, Tom chased the wrong guy.

C.L. Gage decided to check out this turkey that was terrorizing all the ladies. He’s not the kind of guy who puts up with being mistreated by out-of-control animals. He spotted the beast, stepped out of his truck, and the turkey was on him, ready for battle.

But he met his match in C.L. He grabbed the turkey by the wing, then by the neck and returned to his truck. When C.L. finally settled in for the short drive home, the turkey was between his legs. One hand was clenched around the neck, close to the head.

There is some speculation regarding what happened next. It’s safe to say that Mr. Gage “relocated” the turkey.

Not too long before C.L. became involved, Donna saw Tom traveling with an entourage of younger tom turkeys. She saw the animals eyeing her. She has a deep conviction that this was a group of turkeys being trained by Tom the Terrible in the fine art of terrorism.

She has nothing on which to base this conviction. Except that the group has started staying up with her on her daily walks. Step for step. They’re still on the other side of the fence, though.

Gerre Joiner is a semi-retired church musician and has lived in Decatur since 1999.

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