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April 2018, vol 14 no 1

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Bill Gottlieb

Loving Omnivores

Thanksgiving dinner is my favorite meal of the year, and last night I earnestly ate my second round of fowl and fixings, with dear friends I hadn’t seen on Turkey Day. Today California Quail – like turkey, in the order Galliformes, the family Phasianidae – browse the woodsy backyard, wading leaf fall, eating scatters of seed under the overfilled feeders, spearing millipedes, bolting mites, their feathery topknots bobbing like new holiday do’s. Earlier this week, trudging to my office in the cabin near the house, head down, thoughts in a flap, I spooked the shuffling flock – they shot skyward in a bluster of wings, two hitting a wide window with blunt thumps. I felt bad, of course. And last night I felt aptly good, agreeable, my tough teeth and muscling tongue making their hankering points. I love birds, I’d say; regard them as free and mysterious friends, outside my cagey mind, next to the cadenced nest of my heart. Too much, too much, too much, the quail might antiphonically reply, as male quail call to female, female to male, anticipating passion’s push and seize, spring’s supple clutch, rich in ovomucoids and B1, splendid boiled, scrambled or pouched.

No thank you, No thank you . . .
the first Thanksgiving
after the heart attack


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