Editor's Note This story was written in 1983 following a campus visit to Macalester College. I spent the day touring the Mac campus with the reigning Ms. Austin MN pageant winner. Over the years this traditional story has only grown more poignant with its touching holiday message. We hope you enjoy... (Certain bits were edited to bring the story up to date.)
"Hey wake up!" Tommy Turkey said to his sister Tawnda, the reigning turkey beauty queen. Tanwda remained very still. "C'mon sis, don't you remember what today is?" Tommy asked.
Tawnda took a quick glance at her watch and saw one leg on the ten, the other leg on the twelve. "MY GOSH, it's almost Thanksgiving!"
Poor Tommy jumped a mile. "Do you want all those hungry hunters to find us? he angrily asked her. Tawnda being as bright as she was (she always did well on the intellectual part of her pageants) knew the two of them had to find a place to hide. She looked at her brother and asked, "What did we do last year?"
"We lost all that weight so nobody would want to eat us," he replied.
"We can't do that this year. I don't want to upset my delicate figure," Tawnda said. She noticed Tommy was staring at her legs with eyes befitting a skunk. "What are you looking at?" she asked him.
"I know what we can do Tawnda," he said looking quite confident. "We can enter you in the Miss America Pageant."
Tawnda blushed (or as close to a blush that a turkey can get). "Gee do you really think I could win?"
"Of course you can. You have wonderful legs," Tommy quickly replied. "This is America. Anything's possible."
The next day Tawnda and Tommy flew to Atlantic City. Since turkeys can't fly so well, they took an airplane. The two went directly to the Miss America building where they were greeted by Mr. Ross. "Just call me Mac," he said with a slight British accent.
"You see Mac, my sister here wants to be in your pageant," Tommy said. Ross looked Tawnda up and down finally fixing his eyes on her legs. "You've got the best pair of turkey legs I've seen in quite some time. Sure, I'll let you be in the contest," he said holding back his drool. Tawnda squealed in delight.
The first event was the talent competition. Tawnda gobbled her way through "New York New York" and received a standing ovation from the other contestants.
Next was the swimsuit competition. "I hope the judges just don't look at me as a piece of meat," Tawnda said to one of the other girls. No one ever saw a turkey in a swimsuit before, but Tawnda stunned everyone with her poise and her legs.
After all the other events were completed it was quite clear Tawnda was the sentimental favorite. Thus nobody was surprised when Kathie Lee announced, "The new Miss America is... Tawnda Turkey!"
Tommy and Tawnda were safe for another year. They stayed in an expensive motel in Atlantic City with a hot tub (which they were careful not to stay in too long less they risk being poached), a big screen TV and mirrors on the ceiling above the vast bed. All that mattered though was that they were many miles from those nasty hunters.
Late Thanksgiving night Tawnda asked Tommy, "What are we going to do next year?" She was busy grooming her prize winning gams.
"We'll think of something," Tommy muttered. "We always do."