Pierre's Thanksgiving

While Mad Jack is gone, he asked me and Eagle
Watcher to take care of things around the island. We
have been taking turns answering his phone when we
feel like it and we also check his e-mails and answer
some of them.
About the only people that see Mad Jack often are
Eagle Watcher and me, Pierre. We live near his place
and sometimes stay at his home when he goes on trips.
At times he even lets us stay here when he is at home.
Recently he went on a trip to New York to spend some
money to be patriotic. I think he feels a little
guilty about not fighting in Viet Nam so he wants to
do something for the country now. Anyway, he said I
could stay at his house full time until he gets back.
After that it is a day to day thing.
Allow me to tell you a little about what is
happening on this island. A few weeks ago I started
to prepare for a huge Thanksgiving party. After
taking the Zavoral's to the road at Young's Bay after
they spent a weekend at their cabin on Flag Island, I
filled up my boat with food from the Angle. Rather
than get foods from different countries or states, it
seemed best to just get things that are grown in the
area. It is also cheaper. Rick McKeever allowed me to
raid his food shelf which he calls the "Back 40".
Different family members and family had been adding to
the food pile for weeks. It contained my friends'
favorite foods. They have simple taste. Some might
call them meat and potato types, but that is not
really true. I have never seen them eat spuds.
Since Rick had more food then he would need, I
filled up by boat with the best he had to offer. There
were some excellent cuts in the meat department. I
almost felt like a garbage man, but no one complained.
They just let me do my own thing. That is the Angle
Way. Maybe they thought if I would be inviting so many
to my place for Thanksgiving, there would be less
uninvited guest dropping into their place. Many of
the people on the Angle entertain paying guest all
summer at their resorts. In the fall they need a
little time just for themselves and their families.
It was almost dark when I got back to the island;
the boat stayed loaded. It was Sunday and I had
already worked too much for the day. Monday is
usually my day off so the boat stayed loaded. It was
a cool dry day so nothing spoiled. Since I don't
usually eat the Thanksgiving meal myself, I was not
too worried if it did happen to spoil a little. That
is an old Angle guiding trick - never eat with the
Tuesday was a day of toil. Not only did I unload
the food from the boat, I started preparing the feast
in a huge, outdoor, slow cooking, solar cooker. In a
way it was almost like sending out invitations since
the aroma of my traditional meal filled the air. My
hope was the wind would blow from each direction
before Thanksgiving so no written notices would have
to be sent.
To be honest, I have never send any written
notices for the meal for several reasons. Some of my
friends can not read. Some, like me, never check
their mail. I don't want to waste time writing.
Postage keeps going up. My letter might pick up some
anthrax. Putting something in writing, puts a lot of
pressure on a guy. Maybe I might not want to be here
on Thanksgiving Day or maybe there is a good football
game on television. Things always seem to work out
best if everyone just goes with the flow. The best
things just happen. That is something Mad Jack taught
me when he was my teacher in Little Falls.
As the days went by, friends passed by slowly as
if they were checking things out, but no one stopped
to visit. Within a week there was an
odoriferous,tannic tang hanging in the air. The head
cheese was starting to kick in. Fortunately, the wind
also started to blow strongly from the northeast - a
direction away from the house. Things were starting
to fall into place.
When Thanksgiving Day finally arrived, it was a
peaceful day just like all people dream about. Since
I had planned ahead, I did not have to get up early to
put the turkey in the oven. (Besides there was no
turkey at the food shelf.) All I had to do was relax
and wait for the guest to show up. I have fought
traffic enough on holidays so that is why I usually
have the meal at my place or Mad Jack's place. To
pass the time,I put together a tray full of cheese and
Triscuits and put them on the shelf next to the tub.
Next I rolled the tv into the bathroom so I could
watch the parade from New York. Mad Jack said he
would wave to me. I also wanted to catch the football
game to see if the Lions could finally pull out a
Since it is not a good idea to just sit in a hot
tub all day without drinking anything, I filled the
water closet on the toilet with a six pack of Canada
Dry, Le Champagne des Ginger Ales. That way I could
keep the drinks cold by just flushing every half hour.
All I had to do was look out the window once in a
while in case anyone showed up.
No one came. The Lions lost. To clean up I just
pulled the plug and cleaned the ring around the tub.
What a unique Thanksgiving Day it had been. The only
thing traditional about the day was the fact that the
Lions lost. I gave thanks that I had stayed unscathed
for the day. There had been no family arguments, no
traffic jams or accidents, no hang over, and no weight
to try to work off. All I had to do was wave to Mad
Jack a few times when I thought I saw him on a float
in the New York parade. What more could a guy ask for!
The next morning the Thanksgiving party started.
My friends are not the types to watch a calendar.
Most every day is an unofficial thanksgiving day for
them, but the day after the official Thanksgiving is a
special day for them. With all the places they could
go to for leftovers, they honored me with their
presence. My backyard looked like a O'Hare Airport.
Personal aircraft filled the sky. All were a uniform
jet black, but each had a style of flying all their
own. Some glided to the table and others hung in the
wind like kites before dropping to their plate with a
down flap of wing. A few of the guest perched on the
dead pine at the top of the ridge and waited for an
opening at the deer heads, backbones and rib cages
that had held their attention since I had unloaded
them from my boat weeks earlier. It was a feast
perfect for Raven Haven. Ravens filled the sky, the
pine, and the ground around the deer bones and flesh.
A white domed eagle hovered above the party waiting
for the black members of his family to first eat their
share. Eagle Watcher said he saw other eagles in trees
or in the sky around the island. They joined the meal
after the ravens had eaten several helpings.
At the peak of the week long party there were
around 60 ravens and six eagles on the island. It
must have been like a spring break in Cancun. There
were fights over food and pecking order. Some of the
ravens puffed up their feathers like they were walking
down Muscle Beach and then chased the smaller ravens
to the side. There was also some very fancy flying
with ravens holding on to a branch with their beaks
and just sailing like they were parasailing without
the motor boat in the very strong winds. One raven
even did a 360 flip in the air about 100 feet off the
A few times I saw ravens pull an eagle's tail
and then steal the meat the eagle was eating when the
eagle chased the wrong raven who just happened to be
standing behind the eagle.
Other ravens just fluffed their feathers in the
snow like a chicken does in the dirt in the summer.
They looked pretty relaxed and happy that winter had
finally arrived.
Although I had spread the deer parts in four
different parts of the island, the ravens and eagles
tended to eat at just place at a time. One feeding
station would have around 20 ravens and a couple of
eagles at the spot and the rest of the birds would be
flying around or sitting in trees waiting to take
their turn. At that same time there would be no birds
at another feeding station. An hour later, a
different feeding station would be packed with birds.
If Eagle Watcher or I opened a door of Mad Jack's
house, the party was over for a while. We watched all
the action through the windows.
Eagle Watcher videotaped the party to share
with others who have never experienced a Raven
Thanksgiving. Mad Jack will want to see it when he
By spring there will be no trace of the
Thanksgiving celebration. Foxes and a wolf or two
will eat the bones that the ravens and eagles left
around the ridge table.
How did you spend Thanksgiving? Hopefully you
did not eat any fowl.
Pierre LaQuierre

(Spelling help from Eagle Watcher)



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