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Two turkey tales

November 27, 2008 | 12:34 pm

Karen_dawn_and_friends

As many of us sit down at a Thanksgiving table today, we can tell tales of the ones that got away...we'll start with the time-honored tradition of the presidential "pardon":

Pumpkin and Pecan, the lucky turkeys whose lives were spared by the annual Thanksgiving presidential pardon Wednesday, were scheduled to fly first-class on United Airlines to Los Angeles, where one of them will be grand marshal in Disneyland's Thanksgiving parade today. The pair will then take up residence in a turkey house in the amusement park's Frontierland.

"In recent weeks, I've talked a lot about sprinting to the finish," said President Bush, surrounded by pumpkins and cornstalks in Wednesday's Rose Garden ceremony. "Yet I've assured these turkeys they will not be trotting to their finish."

The turkey pardon is a White House tradition that dates to the Truman administration. This year's duo received their names after an online vote on the White House website. Runners-up included Roost and Run and Yam and Jam.
Not surprisingly, the folks at People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals asked the president to send the turkeys to an animal sanctuary instead. "You might be a lame duck, but you still have the power to help lame turkeys, who are made that way by the cruelty of the meat industry," PETA President Ingrid Newkirk wrote in the letter.

We think PETA would be thrilled with Karen Dawn and her approach to Thanksgiving. Carla Hall explains:

At Karen Dawn's Thanksgiving feast, there will be yams and stuffing with cranberries and a dessert of pumpkin-pecan pie, all set out on a table for eight.

And there will be turkeys, two of them actually -- Emily and Bruce (or possibly Brucilla -- it's a little unclear). The two 20-pounders will have most of the privileges of Dawn's other sentient guests -- a Pacific Palisades patio, a view of the ocean and vegetarian nibbles.

At Dawn's vegan holiday dinner, guests will ooh and aah over live birds. The only turkey plunked down on her table will be Wild Turkey bourbon.

The turkeys were purchased for $2 a pound from a live-turkey market near downtown L.A. On Tuesday, Hall writes, they "were adjusting to a lifetime reprieve in an outdoor coop at Dawn's home. Dawn washed them in her bathtub and blow-dried them, leaving the 4-month-old birds' feathers bright white and satiny to the touch."

--Alice Short

Photo: Anne Cusack/Los Angeles Times

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