This morning when I dropped Bill off at nursery the kids were all busy making Christmas trees out of green construction paper and red tissue and glue and glitter.
“Christmas already?” I said. “I’m not ready for that.”
“You don’t do Christmas until really late?” Bill’s nursery teacher said.
“No, I wait til after Thanksgiving , we’d be making turkeys out of construction paper for our decorations now.”
“Oh really?” said the nursery teacher. “How do you do that?”
So I tried to describe the hand turkey and how you’d draw around your hand and then make feathers out of the finger and add a beak onto your thumb. You know – something a little like this:
She was excited, the kids were gonna give it a go. So she asked me to describe the whole process and she took notes and everything (honestly, she actually wrote it down). And I thought I had explained it well enough…I mean it’s a pretty straightforward concept.
And when I came back in the afternoon she told me that she’d told the kids all about Thanksgiving and that the reasons they were all making turkeys is because Billy (as they call him) is American and in America on Thanksgiving they have dinner. (Note to self: bring a print out of a kid’s Thanksgiving story)
And I saw a whole row of these things hanging by clothespins from a line stretched across the day care room:
Look, don’t get me wrong – I think it’s incredibly sweet that they took the time and effort to help celebrate our (my?) cultural heritage. And I have to look inward on this one, too and wonder if perhaps my explanation went a bit awry. I can see now, looking back how my description might have somehow, with the best of intentions, morphed into this feathery mit from the depth. And if you’d never seen a hand turkey before, maybe this is a reasonable interpretation of one as described by someone who’s seen and made so many that it seems obvious. (An interesting reflection on the ease of cultural misinterpretation).
But can you imagine that thing as the centerpiece of your Thanksgiving decorations? It’s as if the rabbit guy from Donnie Darko was leading craft hour with the kids. And where did they get those feathers from? They look suspiciously like pigeon feathers. Did they send the toddlers out with breadcrumbs into the local park to lure, capture and pluck?
Tomorrow, apparently they’re making Indian headdresses.
I can’t wait.