Sometimes our appreciation of a picture is enhanced when we learn the story behind it: how it was photographed, or the larger context in which it took place. A series of pictures, whether seconds or seaons apart, gives us more story than a single image. Gay enjoyed creating photo series and she worked hard to get them right — so that the view of a tree in all 4 seasons feels like a continuous action. A photo series implies action which enhances interest and gives viewers a greater sense of connection with the characters and events thereby creating a more memorable visual image. In "Stories" we share Gay's journals with Sharon's editorial tongue in cheek commentary. We practice our voices, weaving a narrative thread and then trying another as we explore our lives -- finding what we want to say and what we must express. We welcome comments and we hope you will enjoy this experiment of images and text.

Bugsy The Watch Turkey

This particular story is told with a triptych series featuring Bugsy the Wild Turkey as the protagonist. We met Bugsy in an earlier story written by Jim Bumgarner, Gay's husband and my stepfather (read the story over on our blog) in which Bugsy was orphaned as an egg and carried home to an incubator. His hatching and unlikely survival began a years-long friendship between a man and a turkey that inspired many good pictures and stories.

From the very start Bugsy favored Jim and accompanied him as he conducted the business of the yard. Thus, it was only a minor extension of his duties to take on the role of sentinel or watch turkey and act as Jim and Gay's agent in all matters of protection and enforcement relating to the birdfeeders. He served with enthusiasm. He would patrol the fence lines, watch the feeders, and if something was amiss would sneak up and surprise the offending animal. 

Photo series of Bugsy The Watch Turkey

In this series we see Bugsy at work. He noticed a raccoon easily feeding from the “squirrel [rodent] proof” bird feeder. With the gait characteristic of his kind, Bugsy pompously strutted across the lawn -- appearing both self-important and ridiculous. Bugsy, having arrived at the feeder, stands gazing steadily at the greedy raccoon. Usually, Bugsy's sudden and commanding appearance accompanied by an air of unpredictability, leads most invading animals to back off in a quasi-dignified but swift retreat. This racoon, however, was unconcerned.

In the next image Bugsy has moved around the feeder, closer to the raccoon. Now both animals look toward the house-- seeking a clue, permission, or interference from those in the house? It is an adorable moment, particularly knowing that Bugsy takes his role as WatchTturkey seriously. The racoon is adorable -- innocence mixed with faux guilty surprise-- "who me, nothing?" Meanwhile, Bugsy's face is harder to read but he may be hiding. I wondered if Bugsy believed that he was fully hidden from view by partially standing behind the post.

But soon, the raccoon continues feeding and Bugsy appears nonchalantly disinterested, until, that is, he springs straight up, wings flapping and talons out, seizing the raccoon. Briefly there is an unquiet ball of fur and feathers hanging and roiling in midair. In a fluid continuous motion the ball falls, then rises and explodes apart. Now there are two running bodies: the raccoon in the lead moving fast and low to the ground towards the trees, simultaneously howling and spitting in outrage, while the Watch Turkey runs with a ridiculous pitch forward, jiggling on two legs and gobbling righteously.

Bugsy was amusing in this new role, then he was nerve-wracking and finally, a hazard – stalking grandchildren and even bigger people if they were behaving "inappropriately", i.e., were in the garden at the same time.

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