It's official. I've long suspected anyone can be a celebrity, now I know it's true. Perhaps you've seen it too...
April 4, 2006Vain Wild Turkey Seeks Leftovers at Cafe
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Filed at 10:22 p.m. ET
CULDESAC, Idaho (AP) -- Rufus the wild turkey has discovered the parking lot of a restaurant is a good place to get a meal -- as long as he's careful not to become one. ''He doesn't come inside,'' cook Kristie McDaide told the Lewiston Tribune. ''I'd throw him right in my pot.''
Rufus is the last member of a five-bird flock that appeared in the area in October, eating grain that blew off semi trucks. He eventually discovered that food was easier to come by in the parking lot of the Jacques Spur Junction Cafe.
Rufus' pluck and boldness apparently carried him through Thanksgiving as diners feasted on turkey while watching Rufus in the parking lot. Now, area residents consider him something of a pet.
''He's a vain bird,'' said Brian Heinzerling, co-owner of the restaurant. ''He's not shy either. The other day, I practically had to shut his beak in the door or he would have followed me in.''
Rufus' reputation has spread far enough to make him a tourist attraction.
''People have heard of him in other towns, Heinzerling said. ''They stop in all the time to check him out.''
''I've never seen a wild turkey you can pet before,'' said Mary Ann Mathison of Craigmont, who stopped in for a cup of coffee with her husband, Ralph.
Rufus checks them out as well, walking up to car doors to look inside, beguiling restaurant patrons into sharing their leftovers with him when they leave.
Rufus, however, is a discriminating eater, turning down broccoli and cracked corn, but accepting grapes, sunflower seeds and leaves.
''He's a naturalist,'' said Nancy Coleman, who lives next to the cafe.
French fries are OK, though.
''Not too long ago, a kid ordered French fries to go,'' Heinzerling said. ''I asked if he wanted ketchup or napkins. He said, 'No, thanks. They're for the turkey.'''
Rufus looks both ways before crossing the highway, waitress Karah Armstrong said. But locals are a little more concerned for Rufus when turkey hunting season opens April 15.
''Well, we've certainly got no plans for turkey dinner,'' said Paula Heinzerling.
Information from: Lewiston Tribune, http://www.lmtribune.com
The Seattle Post-Intelligencer, New York Times, and Washington Post are among the papers nationwide carrying a story about Culdesac.
Our boss observed this is called 'Wildlife Watching' and cited the community of Leavenworth, Washington as an example of a city created around and because of local wildlife. She then wondered how long Rufus would last. One of my co-worker's replied, "Rufus will last until the day that some unsuspecting customer pulls in to have lunch, returns to their car to find the turkey has scratched their paint, and then finds out that the restaurant owner has knowledge of the turkey’s habits and has encouraged the turkey to remain." Hopefully the customer will have a sense of humor, and take it all in stride by fixing the scratch himself. And the restaurant will gain some national notarity and business will boom beyond the owner's wildest dreams. Or, this will no doubt lead to a law suit filed by the customer against the restaurant owner for damage to his precious vehicle. After which point the restaurant owner broke and penniless, his entreprenurial spirit crushed, will be forced to lay off his employee's, and shut down his restaurant, all because of some turkey.
Okay, maybe that's a bit extreme.
Or maybe I'm just getting too cynical these days.