Holy Crow!

Reader Contribution by Shirley "rodeo" Landis Vanscoyk
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My dogs and my grandsons have no “disgust” discernment. There isn’t anything in any state of decay that they won’t poke with a stick or drag from its resting place.

So, one afternoon in July, I wasn’t surprised when I found them hovering over a dead crow in the side yard. Eldest Grandson indeed was poking it with a stick and Youngest Grandson was wringing his hands. He’s had some issues with death ever since the unfortunate “the hamster bit me and I threw him and now he won’t move, whoops he is still alive” fiasco. EG watches the news, he knows about West Nile virus. He knows, with the certainty of a nine year old that something must be done with a dead bird. Youngest Grandson is convinced that if we just give it some water, it will be okay. It worked for the hamster. It takes some persuading to get him to realize that a bird doesn’t just sleep in the yard with its legs up in the air. EG still wants to know what I am going to do with it.

Now, that’s a problem. If I just throw it in the bushes, the dogs (who are waiting impatiently for the kids to give up the stick poking so they can commence with the dismemberment) will drag it back on the lawn. If I bury it, they probably will just dig it up. It doesn’t seem right somehow to just put it in the trash. (I have no logical explanation for this conclusion in retrospect.) And yet, it is so hot I just can’t think what to do.

I tell EG we are doing nothing.

He looks me dead in the eye and says, “Nothing?”

I said, “Yes, we are doing nothing.”

“Why?” he asks. A reasonable but irritating question.

“Because,” I say, “Because it’s hot, and I can’t think, and I’m having a hot flash. That’s why!”

I bribe YG with unlimited hose use and he finally gives up trying to make me do something about the crow. EG has learned not to do anything past the hot flash statement.

Several days go by and I still haven’t figured out what to do with the crow. It’s taking on mythical proportions now. It’s a special bird, and needs a special ceremony. Bright light fills my head. The chimenea!

I get some gloves and pick up the bird – not any better for being several days older. I walk it up to the deck and place it gently in the firebox of the chimenea. I go get some dryer lint (extremely flammable – someday I’ll tell you how I learned that little bit of information. I didn’t have to wax my brows for several months) and pile it on top of the bird. I get some nice dry firewood and put that on top, too. I say a few words about what a noble bird a crow is. That I haven’t really been negligent – I was just waiting for the planets to be correctly aligned, for the time to be right, for the inspiration to be present to send it out to the universe. I take the long lighter, light the lint and in a flash that bird is on its way to heaven. Too late I wonder whether I can die from breathing the smoke.

All that took place on a Friday and by Monday morning; the crow is a distant memory. I have to drive Daughter-In-Law to the dentist with YG because he knocked his front teeth out, so I’m rushing around. Before I go upstairs for a shower I notice the dogs are on the porch. They look so cute lying in the sun. I’ll just leave them out there until I’m ready to go.

I take my shower and I actually have clean clothes, so I’m feeling pretty spiffy. My hair got wet so I can push it into a style sort of. I like to pretend I have the kind of hair you can do that with. This only works until I look in the rear view mirror of the car, so I’m savoring these last few minutes of feeling positive about my appearance. On the way down stairs I stop in the living room to put on my cleanest shoes. The first thing I notice is that there appears to be charred meat all over the living room rug. 

I wonder, could the dogs have figured out how to get the fridge open? I can see the kitchen from the living room. Everything out there seems to be fine. I lean down closer to the charred meat. It is meat and feathers …Charred meat and feathers. And bones. Yup, there are bones there, too. Despite my best efforts, the dogs have resurrected that crow.

Now, I know you are wondering how you get dead crow off an antique Nichols rug worth over $4000. Well, you get the kitchen trash can, a broom and snow shovel. After you have finished heaving your guts into the trash can until you have nothing left but stomach lining, you use the broom to push the charred bits onto the snow shovel. Then you march out onto the deck where the dogs are hiding and hurl it right out on the lawn. You don’t really care anymore.

Then you scrub your arms and hands with bleach and hot water, gag up some ginger ale you thought you might be able to hold down and make a few passes with the rug shampooer.

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