You’ll be happy to know that marauding turkeys are no longer a problem in the Olde Lexington Gardens subdivision in Athens.

And thank goodness for that.

Imagine opening the front door to get the morning paper out of the flower bed next to the rosemary bush and coming face-to-face with a snarling turkey with an evil glint in his eye. Or arming yourself with a can of cranberry sauce so you can walk the kids to the bus stop, ever-mindful that a skulking Tom could leap out from behind Mr. Osgood’s tool shed.

I am not making this up. (Honestly now, how could I?) There were indeed two male turkeys and 4 females on the loose, and the males were attacking residents and keeping peace-loving citizens off their porches.

Finally, the ever-watchful government of the Great State Of Georgia came to the rescue, and not a moment too soon. The thought of a turkey finding the extra house key under the cute little gnome by the water meter is too horrible to contemplate. The Department Of Natural Resources permanently relocated the two males, and I, for one, think they got what was coming to them.

The females, deemed non-threatening by the turkey experts from the state, were sent to an undisclosed location until the fall.

But consider the repercussions of this violation of the peace and quiet guaranteed by the Constitution. For one, Thanksgiving will never be the same. The traditional feast will go through a radical makeover. Sales of the traditional  bird will plummet, but consumption of pink salad and green bean casserole will soar.

It’ll be necessary to rewrite the history of the first Thanksgiving. Instead of turkey, the Native Americans will be bringing potato salad and beef bourguignon.

The residents of Olde Lexington Gardens are not without culpability in this drama of nature gone amuck. It turns out they were feeding the feral turkeys. It makes sense that the turkeys would gravitate to the subdivision, especially if they were out of their Hardee’s two-for-one coupons.

I know a little about the consequences of feeding wild animals. Rebecca and I had a house in Highlands, and residents were told in no uncertain terms that the police were serious about the speed limit, that some restaurants were overpriced, and that, under no circumstances, were we to leave our bird feeders out when we weren’t home. Why? Black bears like birdseed. They are also quite fond of garbage.

Highlands has lots of birds, lots of seed, tons of garbage and a battalion of bears sneaking around waiting for you to turn your back. I mean, why would a bear want to go back into the woods and scavenge for nuts and berries when he could have a nice half-eaten Twinkie?

If you leave food out, turkeys might be the least of your problems. What about frogs half-crazed with hunger? Or abandoned hamsters who haven’t had a decent meal in days?

The mind reels.

The solution is for neighborhoods to band together, prepare a defense plan in case of a sneak attack by crazed parakeets, and get down to cases.

Face it, fellow citizens, it’s time to talk … uh … lamb shanks.

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson

Mark Johnson is a professional mentalist and mind reader who presents his unique and unforgettable program to conventions, college and universities, sales meetings, private parties, business and civic clubs and more. He has also appeared at the Punchline Comedy Club in Atlanta and produces, along with Jerry Farber and Joe M. Turner, Atlanta Magic Night at the Red Light Cafe in Midtown. He is a member of the Psychic Entertainers Association, the International Brotherhood of Magicians, the Georgia Magic Club,Buckhead Rotary Club and Friends of Jim The Wonder Dog. You can learn more at He is the author of three books: "Living The Dream," the story of the first ten years of FedEx; "Superman, Hairspray, and the Greatest Goat On Earth," a collection of mostly true stories;, and "Yes Ma'am, You're Right: The Essential Rules For Living With A Woman."  Mark's day job is as a freelance writer and communications and marketing consultant. Mark has traveled around the world twice but has never been to Burlington, Vermont. He does not eat beets or chicken livers, and he has never read "Gone With The Wind." He is the only person he knows who was once a card-carrying member of the International Brotherhood of Ventriloquists. He is a fifth generation Atlantan,  the father of three, and the grandfather of five. All offspring are demonstrably perfect. He lives in Smyrna with his wife Rebecca (aka The Goddess) and two dogs: Ferguson, an arrogant Scottish terrier; and, Lola, a Siberian husky who is still trying to figure out what the hell she's doing in Cobb County.