Monday, August 23, 2010

Large birds, with and without feathers

It was not a typical Sunday.  The Mommy was hurrying around the kitchen with all sorts of food, and Daddy was making the house pretty and setting the table all fancy with napkins and everything.  Peep sat on the floor near the bedroom watching the hustle.  The whole house smelled delicious.  Mommy was cooking a bird – a big bird from what Peep had seen when it was put in the oven.  Peep wondered where these birds came from.  They didn’t have any feathers and were wrapped up in plastic.  She knew they were from the grocery store – that heavenly place that provided squishy food and crunchy food and treats, but how did the grocery store get birds without feathers?   Come to think of it, they didn’t have heads or feet either.  Very odd.

Peep ventured out to see if the Mommy was in the mood to dispense little bits of whatever she was preparing.  Sometimes she did that.  As Peep got close to her, Mommy rushed in her direction, carrying a big bowl of something and said, “Peep, watch out!  You’re going to trip me and there will be food all over everything and no dinner for us.  Scoot!”

Peep scooted.  She walked outside, still thinking about the naked bird.  Rudy and LT were nowhere in sight, so Peep settled on the deck to consider birds.  The birds she’d seen in the yard were small enough for her to catch.  She usually didn’t even try, as they weren’t good playmates once caught.  She preferred her prey to be playful, since she didn’t actually want to eat them.  Frogs, chipmunks, mice – those were animals Peep could get into.  Birds just flew away if you caught them, and if they did that in the house, the Daddy would be angry.  They flew into things, pooped all over and made a general mess.  She knew from experience, and didn’t want to repeat it.  

As guests arrived for lunch, Peep kept to her observation spot on the deck.  The one that looked almost like Daddy and the other one who visited at the same time came as well as one of Daddy’s friends.  They all went in the house, and presumably sat down to eat the big featherless bird.  

As she considered whether to check if a frog wanted to play, Peep heard an odd sound, no several odd sounds.  It was a cross between a cat purr and a chicken cluck.  Peep hoped that it was not the ridiculous geese that belonged to one of the neighbors.  She was not in a mood to herd them home today.  She stood up and looked around and nearly fell off the deck.  There were one, two, three, whatever – too many very large birds coming across the yard.  Maybe these were the kind of birds Mommy cooked today, except these looked even bigger.  Wouldn’t it be great if Peep could catch one and give it to the Mommy?  She could take off its feathers and cook it up just for Peep.  

She crept off the porch towards the birds and hid in a bit of high grass.  If she could just get one of them off by itself, she could catch it, she was sure.  Well, maybe not sure, but if she could grab its neck, which was ridiculously long, she could bring it down.  She’d just have to do it silently and quickly, because she didn’t want the other birds to notice and come after her with those nasty beaks.  One was moving closer to her.  Good.  Good.  Just a little closer….  It turned and fixed its beady eyes on her and said distinctly, “You really don’t want to mess with me, little cat.  I outweigh you and every one of us is keeping an eye on you, so you’d be full of holes before you could say ‘giblets’.”  

Peep ran quickly up onto the deck and through the cat door, all her fur standing on end.  Thinking better of it, she decided to hide under Daddy’s chair in case one of those birds tried to come it.  Daddy reached down to pet her, saying, “What’s wrong Peep?  You look like you’ve seen a ghost.”  He stood up, looked out the window and laughed.  “I think Peep just had an encounter of the turkey kind.  There’s a flock moving across the yard, except one that’s keeping an eye on the house.  It probably told Peep off and is making sure she doesn’t come back with reinforcements.”  Everyone laughed and Daddy sat back down.

Mommy got up then and went over to the counter, where she stuck some pink sticks in a cake she’d baked.  She lit the sticks and started singing.  “Happy birthday to you.  Happy birthday to you.  Happy birthday, Jay and Jeffrey.  Happy birthday to you!”   She put the cake with the sticks on it on the table and told Jay and Jeffrey to blow out the fire she’d started on the ends of the sticks.  Peep thought that if she didn’t want them burning, she shouldn’t have lit them in the first place, but there was no telling with human behavior.  

But now she did know what all the fuss was about.  It was a party for the Daddy and his twin brother Jeffrey.  His real birthday wasn’t until Wednesday, so Peep still had time to figure out what to give him.  Perhaps a frog.

Photo courtesy of Jennifer Rogers -

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