There is one, and likely more, precedent for a president of the United States to go outside Washington to hunt turkeys, there being turkeys and turkeys. (See definitions in any good dictionary.)
In my boyhood in Prince William County, there was quite a stir among the human population when President William Howard Taft took a day off from the White House to hunt wild turkeys on the spreading Rixey Farm, which we called it, rather than the Ben Lomond place. The Rixeys and related Merediths, politically prominent in Northern Virginia, were the hosts, as they had been to President Theodore Roosevelt, who earlier had come out to hunt game, including perhaps, turkeys.
Of course, it wasn't the first time President Taft had been in Manassas. Several years before he had motored out on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the Battle of First Manassas. That was a venture in those days, and an adventure. Col. Archibald Butt, later to die a heroic death on the Titanic, had chauffeured the steamer, whether White or Stanley, and managed to ford the storm-swollen Little Rocky Run.
This time the chief executive came out on the swanky railway car, which a railroad now would call a "business" car. He was met and driven the several miles to the hunting grounds of woods and meadows bordering Bull Run.
Old-timers, neighbors, said they remembered that the noise of gunfire had been much louder back on July 21, 1861.
After school was out, we schoolboys, and girls, and a crowd of townspeople gravitated toward the depot and surrounded the special car on the sidetrack. The station platform was usually a gathering place when the afternoon trains came in from Washington. Conner's Opera House and the Dixie motion picture couldn't furnish all the entertainment.
Everybody knew everybody else then, and most of each other's business, and pleasure, as well. The Southern Telegraph office was a mecca during baseball season. The dispatcher would tell us who was pitching for Washington--maybe Walter Johnson-- and who won, usually Walter Johnson, our hero.
Finally came the automobile bearing the waving president. The crowd parted and he boarded the rail car. Anticipating that he would appear above the presidential seal on the back of the observation platform, we cheered, and out he came. What would he have to say? We fell silent as he stood there.
A man near the rear of the crowd hollered out:
"Mr. President . . . where are the turkeys?"
We were all ears, and what he said became a byword around Manassas, and may still be, when something doesn't happen. It was:
"Thay failed to materialize."
As a turkey hunt, it had been a turkey.