When Avon food distributor Miller Foods' 8-foot tall inflatable turkey, Tom, went missing before their Thanks for Giving tent opened last November, it was all over the local, statewide and national news — Avon Patch, The Hartford Courant, NBC Connecticut, MSNBC, WFSB and even CNN.
Avon police investigated, but the turkey that the family put up every Thanksgiving season for 18 years was never returned or recovered.
Now Miller Foods has a new inflatable turkey to greet its guests as they come from the Farmington Valley and out-of-state to pick up turkeys and other Thanksgiving food in the company's annual Thanks for Giving tent.
Tom Jr. is up and ready to make his debut when the tent opens Saturday.
If an inflatable turkey could talk, the interview would go something like this.
Avon Patch: Tom Jr., welcome to Avon. Are you excited for your big debut?
Tom the Turkey Jr.: "I am so happy to be in Avon for the Thanksgiving holiday. It has been a very difficult year for our family."
Avon Patch: What brings you to town?
Tom the Turkey Jr.: "My family roots brought me back to town. I want to be there just like Tom Sr. and be part of the Miller Foods Thanksgiving Tent Event."
Avon Patch: Now let's talk turkey. Many of us in the Avon community remember Tom Sr. well. Before Thanksgiving last year, he went missing. I know fowl play was suspected. If you wouldn't mind, could you talk about how the flighty case unfolded and how Tom's family took the news? What was the outcome?
Tom the Turkey Jr.: "While keeping guard at the tent at Miller Foods, Tom Sr. was abducted. The police were notified and a search and rescue mission was underway. Tom's family was beside themselves and have done their best to move forward. There were numerous sightings throughout the community but no arrests have been made. The Avon Police Department did a tremendous job investigating the missing bird case and added security will be in place for me this year."
Avon Patch: Tom Sr. was a fixture here. He knew how to cook and make a good Thanksgiving meal. Do you think you'll be able to fill his shoes?
Tom the Turkey Jr.: "His shoes will be hard to fill but Dad taught me all he knew and was an excellent cook. I will do my best to carry on the family tradition. Cooking a delicious meal is one way of thanking Dad!"
Avon Patch: What will you bring to the table?
Tom the Turkey Jr.: "I bring lots of excitement to the Thanksgiving holiday and add a dash of flavor."
Avon Patch: How old are you?
Tom the Turkey Jr.: "This is my debut year as I carry on the family tradition as top turkey. As an adult, I have now taken my rightful place in the community."
Avon Patch: Let's get to the real meat of the story. What are you most thankful for this year?
Tom the Turkey Jr.: "I am so thankful for all of life's blessings including a little Tom on the way."
Avon Patch: If you could be a lead character in your own book or movie, who would you be and what would be the title? Tom the Turkey Jr. and the Gobbling of Fire has a nice ring to it. Other ideas?
Tom the Turkey Jr.: "I am really looking forward to heading to Hollywood after my debut at Miller Foods. As I waddle through life, my goal is to be a star in Hollywood."
Avon Patch: Let's say you get the longer end of the wishbone. What is your wish as Avon's newest turkey?
Tom the Turkey Jr.: "My wish is that everyone come down and introduce themselves to me at the tent this weekend. Be sure to take some extra time for a photo op and use as your holiday card this year. I have been told I am very photogenic!"
Avon Patch: How are you preparing for the Thanksgiving festivities. Or are you winging it?
Tom the Turkey Jr.: "We double wing it in my family. This year we going to play touch football on the Miller compound before the big feast."
Avon Patch: My how the time flies. I'll let you go so you can get ready for your guests. Where can people find you by the way?
Tom the Turkey Jr.: "Come on down.....I will be at Miller Foods 308 Arch Rd. in Avon. Can't wait for you to visit me!"
Editor's Note: The responses for Tom the Turkey Jr. were provided by Capri Frank of Miller Foods.