Clinic Stories

Dead Eye

As high school football rivalries go, the final game of the regular season played on Thanksgiving afternoon between North Penn in Lansdale, PA and Central Bucks (now CB West) in Doylestown was somewhat legendary. An ESPN documentary, “The Season” and a movie, “The Last Game” deal with it. For years CB West was coached by Mike Pettine, Sr., one of Pennsylvania's winningest coaches and eventually his son, Mike Pettine, Jr. coached North Penn before moving to the pros. He is now head coach of the Cleveland Browns.

In the fall of 1970, I was a high school senior. A pep rally was held at North Penn the night before the Thanksgiving game. Students entered floats which they drove around the stadium track before a panel of judges. Friends of mine drove in with a canoe, the USS Skunk, on top with one student dressed as an Indian and another as a pilgrim. Four turkeys provided the trimming. It was the crowd favorite and would have won except there was no reference to the football game. They were awarded second place.

The newspaper caption below says that the turkeys were safe due to their pep rally duties. Unfortunately, the media did not get the story right and three of the turkeys were sold on school premises to be eaten the next day. No one wanted the last turkey, nicknamed Dead Eye due to her missing left eye. I took her home.

Dead Eye lived in a makeshift pen in our back yard and soon began providing breakfast eggs. She was quite tame and every so often would get out and follow anyone she could find. Neighbors would let us know when she was on the loose but strangers called the police often enough for her to become known, and admired, by the local police.

After high school I moved on without Dead Eye. She went back to live with her kind, along with various ducks and geese, on a local farm. More than 30 years later my parents found an undeveloped roll of film. Among the pictures were one of me with Dead Eye in a classic 'boy with his turkey pose.

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