The most interesting personal ad appeared recently in - of all places - a wildlife publication that caters to an assortment of fowl.

"SWFT seeking appropriate suitor for long-term relationship. I have long legs, beautiful bronze coloring with golden highlights and somewhat angular facial features which I'm told are quite attractive. I come with a very handsome dowry and can be found wandering the grounds of McLeod Plantation on James Island. I'm truly one-of-a-kind at that address; there's no one else here like me. Gentlemen named Tom I find particularly appealing - particularly those with long beards. Please come rescue me before I become an old hen!"

In case you haven't guessed, the SWFT referred to above is a "single wild female turkey" that has taken up residence at McLeod and has been there for several weeks - surrounded by an ever-burgeoning metropolis. She's a very dainty and pretty thing and can be seen quietly minding her own business among the oaks and sometimes right out in the middle of one of the fields, fully exposed, pecking hither and yon for any little tidbit.

But the poor creature is all alone, or at least she appears so. I certainly haven't seen other turkeys out there, but don't exclude the possibility that there are some keeping a lower profile. If so, perhaps a brood of poults will come along soon and we'll have a nice family of turkeys in a somewhat unlikely location. Or perhaps we have a random turkey hen who just wants to be left alone, who's got issues she's trying to work through. Who doesn't?

But maybe, as the ad suggests, she's "available," in which case there might be some logistical concerns finding her a proper mate, but I wish her well in the process.


Unfortunately, it's the natural tendency of too many people as they get older to become completely fuddy duddy in the way they react to things, just because that's not the way things were done when they were coming along. Even if one's not chronologically all that old, the surest way to appear otherwise is to become intransigent and set in one's ways.

I had one such moment recently and am trying to figure out if I've become the one thing I dread most or simply had a "normal" reaction to something that struck me as tacky.

Here I was watching "The Today Show" - my favorite morning news show that I've been watching for decades - and Savannah Guthrie was glowing over her wedding that had just taken place. I like Savannah a lot. She's beautiful, talented, smart and engaging. It was a very nice moment.

And then she announced, amid gushes, that she's already four months prego! Which is fantastic news, but wouldn't it have been a little more tactful at maternity leave time to observe wryly that the first child can come at any time but subsequent ones take about nine months (or some such) - or just delicately sidestep the issue?

Fuddy dud that I must be, my initial reaction was 'please, I'm not asking you to be a role model to my children per se, but kindly avoid deliberately being a bad one.' It must be a sign of the times, but I haven't heard or read a single remark questioning Guthrie's handling of this private matter which - my opinion only - runs somewhat counter to the image carved out by previous women anchors on Today, and otherwise by Guthrie herself. Is it just me, a lone plaintive voice (like that poor turkey hen) struck by this issue?


My frequent (and appreciated) contributor, Walter Duane, says that when he "was in high school in the '30's, Charleston had episodes of spinal meningitis and infantile paralysis amid ongoing incidents of malaria and typhoid fever. Doctors did all they could with what they had, but the Salk and Sabin formulations, for example, hadn't even been developed.

"If anyone tells you they were 'the good ole days,' don't believe it."

Edward M. Gilbreth is a Charleston physician. Reach him at edwardgilbreth