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Letter to the editor: Toodles the Turkey returns for Thanksgiving Week


Toodles the Turkey in 2021 — courtesy of Mary Palmberg

By Mary Palmberg, Iowa City

I spotted a cute stuffed turkey in a window of the Deadwood Tavern when walking my dog early on a November morning in 2008. My granddaughter, Ava, had invited me to a Thanksgiving lunch at Willowind School that midday; it struck me that the turkey in the window would be a fun guest to take along. The Deadwood staff agreed to loan the turkey, and she was a big hit with the preschoolers at Willowind that day. Ava immediately named her Toodles. When I went to the Deadwood early afternoon to return Toodles, the turkey’s owner asked me to keep her so she could continue making kids — and others of any age — happy.

Toodles has spent Thanksgiving Day with my grandkids and other family ever since, and one year she delighted children at a Thanksgiving lunch at Home Ties Child Care Center (Home Ties cares for children who are staying at Shelter House, DVIP, and are otherwise in crisis situations).

This will be Toodles’ seventh Thanksgiving week at Oaknoll. She’ll move from spot to spot all around the Oaknoll campuses so she has opportunities to greet everyone. (Yes, she’s been vaccinated; I know you’re concerned about that.) And watch for her on a stool in the pub — she and I met at a pub, after all.

Toodles will, of course, be wearing a mask in any Oaknoll areas where masks are required. In fact, she is tickled to wear a mask custom-made for her by Ellen Niehaus. The mask fabric, which features likenesses of some of Toodles’ relatives, is in remembrance of those who, alas, were not pardoned, as Toodles was.

Will you spot Toodles during Thanksgiving week? She’s the one with the big orange feet.

Originally published in Oaknoll’s newsletter Acorns.


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