Life's Divide Line

Wednesday, July 03, 2024 10:44 AM | Anonymous

by Dr. Delton Gordon, Arkansas Tech University

Lately, I have pondered the distinguishable moments in my lifetime, both personally and professionally. While there have been memorable moments, like marrying the love of my life, being present for the birth of my son, graduating with my PhD., or getting my first Senior Housing Officer role, my life can easily be divided into Delton before turkeys and Delton after turkeys. 

We started our flock of chickens shortly after moving to Arkansas. My wife, Sarah, had always dreamed of having chickens so she could name them after Disney Princesses. I quickly went about researching and building a chicken coop as well as adding a run so the newest members of our family could get about safely. Sarah took online classes to understand chickens and the care. It became a passion to understand these simple, but fascinating animals. It was important to get breeds that laid beautifully colored eggs or the birds themselves had unique traits. If you are aware of chicken math, you’ll understand, but quickly eight birds turned into fifteen. After the first year passed and we had fallen in love with the descendants of dinosaurs, we decided to “order” a few birds from an online breeder. This was a whole new level of obsession, allowing us to choose one or two of each breed, a plethora of procurement options were now available to us.

Farming and ranching were quite prominent in my genealogy research, with my fifth great grandfather and his brothers settling the lands of Effingham County, Illinois with their hogs. They are noted in the History of Effingham County Illinois (1883, Perrin, W.H.). They were quite the nuisance as they herded their swine through other settlers’ property. I suppose that is why fences became popular. Thus, the desire to raise and care for animals runs strong though my heritage.

However, while chickens were certainly the starting point, I ultimately fell in love with raising turkeys. On a whim, I decided to order one turkey to surprise the family. It was a heritage breed, Bourbon Red Turkey. Most larger breed chickens are easily distinguishable at birth what sex they are, however Turkeys are much more difficult. So, it would be months before we knew if it was a jake (male) or a jenny (female).  Thus, making naming of our turkey a little challenging. After a few months go along, we realized our turkey was a hen, and thus Thursday was christened. I’m here to tell you, that’s when I knew my life would change.

Turkeys are inquisitive, curious, and quite social. Thursday is no exception; she absolutely loves people…maybe more than her fellow turkeys (definitely more than ducks)! There are lots of moments in life where we can look back and say, my life was different before…this job, this person, this pet, this trip…but I am here to tell you, I can easily say, my life with turkeys (especially Thursday) is a clear dividing line. I challenge you to think about your life’s dividing line…what are things/people/places that you can distinguish a clear before and after?  

Southwest Association of College & University Housing Officers

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