The Hornet Park Elementary students (kindergartners and first-graders) were always excited about holidays. So were the fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders who attended South Grove Intermediate.
On a few occasions I gave the South Grove children the opportunity to participate in a turkey gobbling contest. I explained that each grade could nominate two of their classmates to be in the contest.
On the last morning of school before the Thanksgiving break, the contestants came to the front of the bus and gobbled like a turkey. Some put their hearts into their efforts, others just mumbled, “Gobble, goggle.”
All of the riders were given voting ballots, and they handed them to me when exiting the bus. I had explained that there would be a major prize – a family-size, full-course turkey’s dinner – for whoever received the most votes.
I announced the winner when the children boarded the bus after school.
It was always exciting when the winner was named. Sometimes it was one of the students who seemed a bit shy; other times it was an outgoing contestant. When the winner was standing beside me, I reached down and lifted the prize.
I presented the winner with a large, clear plastic bag of turkey food, which included corn and various seeds. I always got puzzled looks from the winners and would have to explain that the prize was a family-size, full-course turkey’s dinner ... a “turkey’s dinner.”
I could only have this contest every three years, and even then I know that a few of the students remembered their older siblings telling them this story.
We always had fun, and the winners always took their prize home and fed the neighborhood birds.