As it turned out, no one stole my turkey. No one even paid it any attention. The turkey, substantially smaller than a Volkswagen (it was actually rather turkey-sized) had been on my porch for four days, tucked away safely into the seat of a baby stroller we keep out there. Shortly after posting my last blog entry, I started to think that things were not adding up. My friends, Inga and Rimas, read the entry and asked themselves the same question I was asking: If you’re going to steal something from my porch, why not steal the $400 stroller? Why steal the $20 turkey? Things were not adding up. However, thieves are not logicians, so I thought perhaps food was more important than a stroller. Perhaps this thief, desperate for dinner, did not imagine transforming a stroller into enough turkey to feed an orphanage.
Apparently, I did not listen to a very important voice mail message which had detailed the turkey’s whereabouts. I simply deleted the message, thinking I had all the information I already needed—how complex can this exchange be? I had checked the porch (in the dark). I had contacted Rimas to be sure he had been the one who rang at the critical hour. With no turkey on the porch, and no one who knew where it could be, there was only one conclusion: theft. Frozen turkeys do not disappear on their own, and they certainly do not rise from the dead.
Well, I came home last night to embarrassing news. My wife had found the turkey. It was in the stroller.
Now the lesson becomes even more fascinating. I must add my own delusion: I truly did believe, falsely but ever-so-strongly, that the turkey had been stolen. And my gentle elation in that moment was real, a result of loving-kindness for an imaginary thief. In fact, my elation continues to be so strong that I am thinking of where to donate this turkey.
But how fascinating. I had started out with no turkey. Prior to Inga’s phone call, I had not even the ambition for turkey. In the wake of her call, I was imagining a turkey to take up my entire oven leaving no room for even one potato. Then an actual turkey arrived and transformed into a daydream, a construct, a work of fiction complete with villains. I thought I was truly experiencing it. In that way, I truly *was* experiencing it, just as I experience all the constructs of my daily living. Now that the turkey has “appeared” and rests safely in my freezer (where I have more than enough room for bags of spinach and autumn herbs), I can meditate on the turkey’s emptiness. The lesson is suddenly clearer than it would have been had I greeted Rimas at the door and thanked him for the turkey.
In the meantime, I must be mindful to pay close attention to the messages people leave me.
by Karolis Zukauskas