The Real Tom Turkey
Tom Turkey appears in several of the Brooks Johnson books. He was a large white Turkey who came to my little farmhouse in Tennessee and made it his home. At first I was terrified of him! He would follow me around when I tried to work in the yard and pen me in a circle as he paraded around dragging his wings on the ground. He marched up and down at the front gate where no solicitors or strangers would try to come in. Once, a dangerous conman screamed over and over “Get him away – I’m scared of him!” I answered back, “Me too!!” He finally ran to his vehicle and left with Tom staying close to his truck door.
Tom was particularly fond of riding mowers, mine and the neighbors. He followed close behind until the large yards were mowed. Once a man tried to check out my mower when it wouldn’t start, but couldn’t help because Tom stood on his back when he bent over the engine. He was also fond of vanilla wafers, expecting five every evening.
There was a soft side to Tom the Turkey too. He adopted two tiny white Cornish roosters who followed him around all day and into his pen and then into his house every evening. Their names were Pat and Mike. They were Irish. They all lived together for many years until they died of old age.
What is a Boomshaw?
In Middle Tennessee close to Nashville, there is a place known as the "boomshaw." It's not a tourist attraction or a nightclub -- just a quiet pool of water. The word boomshaw comes from a Shawnee Indian word meaning "deep hole or deep water." It is believed it has no bottom and provides a never ending supply of high quality water to the local community. Studies were done to try to find the source and results showed it was from an unknown underground river.
The photo above reminds me of the late afternoon Ellen and I went to find the boomshaw. We were intrigued by the name and the mystery. Where did it come from and was it truly bottomless? We finally found it after driving around the general area, having received minimal directions about an unmarked road that led into the woods. We parked and walked in the fading light and within minutes there it was. It was quiet, deserted and unassuming but the feeling it gave us was thrilling. We wanted to tell a story about a boomshaw and that's when we went home and began writing "Deeper Than the Boomshaw."
Photo by LuAnne Underhill