What do turkey hunting and classical music have in common?
The Venables and their friends!
It was more than a sellout at the lakefront home of Frank and Lisha Venable a few weeks ago when News Sentinel columnist Sam Venable joined his buddy Bo Carey and other members of the Venable clan for an event billed as “Music, Tales and Yarns.” It was part of the Knoxville Symphony League‘s “Elegant Dining” series of fundraising meals. And all I can say about this one is, “Thank goodness one of the menu items was fish!” Because I don’t eat quail or venison — and those were the other entree options.
It actually was a fun and relaxing time on a Sunday afternoon. Bo played fiddle and guitar and cracked us up with his parody of the Tennessee Waltz. And Sam regaled us with tales of his turkey hunting adventures, many of which cannot be repeated here. What did the younger Frank Venable do? He manned the grill while his wife, father and mother helped with host duties.
But then is was Sam’s turn. “Turkey hunting in East Tennessee is a cult,” he asserted. “It transcends anything Jim Jones has ever done.” And then he proceeded to prove it with his self-deprecating tales that included sinking his pickup truck in a lake full of liquid cow manure. (I’m glad this talk was AFTER dinner!) You’ll have to ask him about that one.
“In the spring,” Venable said, “male turkeys haven’t had any loving in a year.” So Venable and other hunters have to make themselves appear to the male turkeys to be female turkeys.
Finally, something called “fanning.”
“When a turkey sees that, he gets excited. And that’s a dead turkey,” Venable related. He added that a turkey’s head turns red when he gets excited. I guess that attracts the female turkeys. Heck, I don’t know. Hopefully, I’ll never need to know.
But Venob is obsessed with it. Why? “A turkey gobbler is the finest food you’ll ever eat.”
Thank goodness that is true because it sure makes for some good stories. And, at least in this case, that means money for the Knoxville Symphony. And a whole lot of laughs.
The last “Elegant Dining” event of the season is this Thursday. Click here for a link to info about it.
Click here for a great story by the News Sentinel’s outdoor editor, Bob Hodge, about Sam bagging a huge turkey just the other day.