In honour of today being Thanksgiving Day in Canada, I’m thinking about turkeys.
Turkeys are generally portrayed as saying “gobble gobble”. To me, however, they will always say “glou glou glou”, which is what they say in French. This is because the first time I ever heard a live turkey “speak”, I was in France. More specifically, I was on Île Ste-Marguerite, a 15-minute boat ride from Cannes in the South of France.
I was a student attending a language school at Cap d’Ail, which is a very small town about a kilometre west of Monaco. I and my Canadian travelling buddy had befriended a couple of Norwegian girls, a few Swedes, and an Italian guy with a car. One weekend, someone had the idea to drive over to Cannes and explore a bit. Once there, someone else suggested that we take the boat over to Île Ste-Marguerite, one of the Îles Lérins, to check out the Fort Royal.
Even though this is the largest of those islands, it’s still pretty small. It’s only about 3 kilometres long by about 1 kilometre wide. At the time I was there, there wasn’t a whole lot to see or do, other than look at the ancient Fort Royal. It was built in the 1600’s and became a prison. Its most famous prisoner was The Man in the Iron Mask, but I didn’t know that till years later.
Anyway, there we were, a group of language students on a day trip. I remember wandering around for a while, braving the rather chilly wind (it was May), then we huddled near the stone wall to await the arrival of the next boat to return us to the mainland. And there we saw the wild turkeys running around. None of us had ever seen wild turkeys before and we were quite enchanted. But when I heard the noise they were making, I completely forgot my French and blurted out in English, “But they really do say gobble gobble!”
No, my European friends corrected me, it’s more like “glou glou glou”. I listened again and had to agree, turkeys really do say “glou glou glou”.
Except the one I roasted for our Thanksgiving dinner. It didn’t say anything, but it sure tasted good.