Fun Friday: An American Tradition, the Hand Turkey

By Brian Darby

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As the calendar rolls over and we transition from Halloween (and attempt to recuperate from the overeating of candy), we start to look ahead to our next holiday extravaganza, Thanksgiving. For the next three weeks we will begin to make travel plans, prepare ourselves once again to overeat, decide which set of family and in-laws to see, and which to avoid (don’t judge me).

The American tradition of Thanksgiving centers on food: turkey, stuffing, dressing, cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, gravy, and pumpkin pie. I need a food nap just thinking about it. But there is one tradition that happens each year that simply amazes me: the hand turkey.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, there’s a good chance you didn’t attend Ball Ground Elementary School. The hand turkey is a way to teach kids how to draw a turkey. By having a child trace their hand, you get what is supposed to be a turkey that you can color with crayons.

Because this  looks like this  .

The origin of this tradition is unknown – which means I browsed Wikipedia and found nothing.

I’m not sure how a hand turkey would fly, or if it would be suitable to eat on Thanksgiving. I don’t know if we were bird watching for hand turkeys if different color feathers would be a sign of rarity or distress. Legend has it, that Ben Franklin wasn’t thrilled about the choice of the American Bald Eagle for our National Bird, and that he preferred the Wild Turkey.

Somehow, I’m pretty sure this wasn’t what he had in mind:

What is your favorite “non-traditional” Thanksgiving tradition?

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