Columns | Kane County Chronicle

Holinger: Don’t be a turkey with a death wish

Why’d the turkey cross the road?

I don’t know. Because he’s stupid? Brave? Heroic? Maybe I’ll ask him.

After all, he’s visited our backyard several times. Struts around like showing the place off to a prospective buyer from whom he’s asking four times the Zillow price.

One night, he climbed/flew high into the branches of an enormous maple tree and stayed the night, like we were his first bed and breakfast choice. Probably expected eggs, toast and turkey sausages next morning. No, wait, scratch the sausages.

We often see him cavorting near the intersection of Burlington and Corron Roads in Campton Hills. He’ll either stand on the side of the road as if counting cars or leisurely stroll across two lanes of fast-moving traffic, most likely believing every driver (who sees him) will accommodate his perambulation whims. He must believe he’s blessed with a rare gift for safe delivery from any threat, human or machine.

In a week or two, he’ll be in trouble. Schools are about to draw more cars out of driveways and school buses out of district lots. Teenagers late to homeroom and bus drivers keeping to a schedule may not show the proper respect for an errant turkey idly enjoying the view from a right-turn lane.

Drivers may be texting or calling; may be reaching for their algebra worksheets they need to finish; may be turning around to scream at their car-pool kids throwing punches.

The turkey, ignorant of these dangers, swaggers into invisible crosshairs.

He’s not the only one headed for trouble, however, blithely baiting fate, about to get run over by a metaphorical 18-wheel semitruck that cares about a turkey in the road as little as a discarded Whopper wrapper.

Because you, too, will get that run-down feeling if you think COVID’s omicron subvariant B.A.-5 will veer out of your way like a low-slung Porsche avoiding a chuckhole.

I still haven’t contracted COVID-19 – that I know of. Some say it’s inevitable. I’ll take my chances – or, rather, I won’t leave it to chance. I’ll do everything I can to prevent getting long-term COVID-19, symptoms that could lead to extreme pulmonary problems or any other catastrophic outcome.

I continue to mask when going into stores, even though people look at me like I’m wearing chain-gang stripes. I don’t care. I don’t know who that cashier or salesperson has been in close contact with the past two days. At restaurants, I try to eat outdoors or take out.

The Kane County Chronicle (8/6/2022) reports in most area schools, “No more having to seat students 3 feet apart. No more mandatory universal masking in schools or COVID testing.” “There is still quite a bit of COVID that’s circulating,” said Michael Isaacson, executive director of the Kane County Health Department. “With the high use of home tests, it makes it challenging for us to get an accurate picture of how much COVID there is.” Elgin Area School District U-46 Superintendent Tony Sanders … stressed “our best protection against COVID-19 continues to be wearing a mask, ensuring social distance and washing hands.”

Most parents, students and even some teachers will pooh-pooh this advice. In fact, a close friend recently remarked, “You going to wear your mask forever?!”

“No,” I answered. “Not forever. But for now, yes.”

Oh, by the way, he got COVID-19 a couple of months ago. Stayed with him for weeks – foggy brain syndrome. If he thinks he’s immune now, I’ve got a column about a turkey he should read.

• Rick Holinger’s writing has appeared in more than a hundred literary journals. He holds a Ph.D. in creative writing from UIC. His poetry book “North of Crivitz” and essay collection “Kangaroo Rabbits and Galvanized Fences” are available at local bookstores or Amazon. Contact him at