Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bye-Bye Birdies – Please!

                                                Published by The Charleston Gazette,
                                                                                       Sunday August 4, 2008~
It was not Alfred Hitchcock’s famous movie that caused my fear of birds, although I do feel a certain kinship with Tippi Hedren’s character when I’m working in my yard and hear a noisy twittering in the trees.  It gives me a chill every time!  It all started many years ago when I was very young.
It was common in those days to buy a live turkey for Thanksgiving.  Due to poor refrigeration, it had to be chosen, slaughtered, and made oven-ready right before the “big day”.  As the story goes, my father brought one home for my mother’s approval, and I, a mere toddler, was quite puzzled to find this strange looking creature walking around in our kitchen.  I had no idea what it was but was not about to get close to it, nor would I turn my back on it… and the feeling seemed mutual.
While my parents discussed its size and weight, this huge bird and I sized each other up.  She stared at me and I stared at her.  She took two steps toward me and I took two steps back.  She gobbled.  I shuddered…and we continued the two-step until my dad grabbed the rope that was around her neck and led her outside.
I never wanted to see that big bird again!  But I did when it graced our Thanksgiving table a few days later.
Now, that experience alone may not have done lasting damage, except that I was destined to have more “fowl” experiences.
A few years later, while playing in my grandparents’ yard and enjoying a cone of ice cream, a large rooster appeared unexpectedly and began flogging me like there was no tomorrow!  That rooster was definitely mad at me!  I threw my ice cream in the air and let out a blood-curdling scream that brought my grandmother to my side… fearing that I had met with a terrible accident. However, when she learned what had happened and that the only thing hurt was my pride, she soothed my ruffled feathers with a peck on the cheek and another cone of ice cream.  Reluctantly, I went back to my play—keeping an eye out for that big rooster, to be sure!
That same summer, I visited my maternal grandparents, too.  Unaware that they had acquired a parakeet since my last visit, imagine my surprise when I was introduced to Tweety.  “I guess a bird in a cage is okay,” I thought… but little did I know that Tweety was allowed to “mingle” occasionally.  So when I was sitting in front of the TV one evening and Tweety suddenly came flying into the room and landed on my head….I squealed hysterically until someone got that yellow bird off me and put him back in his cage.  I couldn’t stop shaking, and Tweety lost his mingling privileges until I went home.
There were other avian experiences throughout my childhood, but I managed to grow up in spite of them.  I got married and had a family, and we always had pets—dogs, cats, goldfish, hamsters, and turtles—but never a bird!
My children found my phobia amusing and devised all sorts of ways to mock me.  They’d place bird feathers strategically around the house…inside and out…just to watch my reaction when I found them, and I once discovered a stuffed bird on my pillow when I awakened.  That deed did not go unpunished!
One day, my daughter and I were in the checkout line at a pet store when I felt something brush against my arm.  I turned to look right into the face of a big green parrot sitting on a perch—no cage.  I felt paralyzed!  When I was able to speak, I said, “Let’s go”, and headed for the door putting my intended purchases down as I went.  My daughter enjoyed telling that story at dinner?
Occasionally, a bird falls to its death after colliding with our storm door.  When its limp little body is found, someone usually quips, “Aha! This one was trying to get inside to see you.”
Secretly, I do sometimes believe they are plotting against me.  Recently, I discovered a bird’s nest in a potted plant beside my front door. It had five eggs in it.  Not only are they plotting, but also brazenly increasing their numbers right on my doorstep!

1 comment:

  1. This is so funny and unusual for someone to be afraid of birds. they are God's creatures.