I’m on a nearly constant weed hunt in the secret garden, which necessitates crawling around under shrubs and large flower groups. Sometimes silly, funny memories pop up. Savoring them, it’s easy to forget my irritation...
One November day a few years ago I poured a fresh cup of coffee and plopped down on the front porch stairs after brooming away the night’s skimpy snowfall. Just then, a black squirrel bounced onto the snow-dusted lawn carrying a wrapped candy bar. Making pleased squirrelly noises he settled down nearby to enjoy his treasure. My laughter didn’t bother him one bit. Efficiently nibbling a scissor-straight cut along the sealed top edge he eased out pieces and crunched away on big Brazil nuts immersed in a caramel glaze. That squirrel had encountered candy bars before, probably on Halloween night: he knew how to tackle this find.
The crumpled wrap was discarded. Tsk!
After licking his paws, he bounced off. It was, I thought, a Disney moment!
Another memory: Just for fun I’d received a silly present from my sister’s husband one late summer day: a chicken.
Not an ordinary one, mind you, but a weirdly sticky chicky, a smaller, more pliable version of the quintessentially American rubber ducky. Kath’s husband knew it would be the perfect prezzie. They owned a full-sized, plucked, head-still-on rubber chicken that hung discreetly by its feet behind their kitchen door. When squeezed, it emitted a lengthy squawk-sigh. I loved it. So naturally, when he came upon this find, I came to mind.
Directions were included.
*INDOOR water-filled toy
*Toss onto any CLEAN, FLAT surface
*Don’t toss onto concrete
*Don’t throw too hard. (Toss flat out, no spin)
*Don’t pull it up from its hard, smooth landing place too fast: wait until it’s reformed
*If necessary, wash chicken with soap and water
Intrigued, I hurled the little pullet onto my sister’s kitchen tile floor. SPLAT! It mimicked that 60 mph runner, an alien fake cop in ‘The Terminator,’ who’d morphed to mercury-jiggleblobs when shotgun-blasted by another alien, Schwarzenegger, during an LA car-cop chase. Anyway, it quivered for a few poisonous seconds in jellied indecision on the highway before each blob joined up again to reform the same implacable cop.
This chick was almost as slick!
With practice, my skill grew. It was fascinating to watch those marble-bright, black eyes re-sorting themselves. I’ve never seen anything quite like it.
Later on, just for fun, I plunked on my purple-and-white striped Cat-In-The-Hat hat and meandered down our shady September street. (Occasionally I’d bump into children who recognized that hat, and we’d chat about favorite Dr. Seuss books.) Hmmm…Impulsively, just before I closed the front door, I popped Chicken Little into my jeans pocket.
You never know...
A guy cruising by on a big Harley motorcycle pointed at my Seuss-topped noggin and yelled, “Nice headgear!” Laughing, he pulled over to the curb to lift his heavy helmet’s visor. “Now there’s a hat that’d be a lot more fun to wear. Wanna trade?”
Grinning, I declined but offered to splat a chicken onto his helmet, which would be a nice change from the bugs his protective headgear must constantly put up with.
He stared at me, and said, nervously, “Ahhh, what?”
“Trust me,” I replied. “Gimme the helmet.”
Baffled, he did. I set it safely down on the grass, then whipped out Chicken Little and flung him onto its dome.
Confused, the puddle-y rubber reassembled itself with some difficulty, unaccustomed to the helmet’s curve.
Amazed, the guy stared at the transformation, then began laughing so hard he practically fell off his bike. Naturally, he had to try it.
Solemnly I whipped out the pullet’s little piece of paper and read him the directions. Thus educated, he aimed for his helmet: Splat! The chicken went egg-flat but reformed more quickly the second time. (Had it adapted to the smoothly alien helmet’s terrain?)
Pullet-splatting is addictive.
Chatting, we took turns flinging it. Eventually, he motored off, laughing and saluting. I sauntered home, hung up the Cat’s hat and patted the pullet in my pocket, grinning.
What a ridiculous, fun afternoon!
Two cheerful things of note:
-My weeding had become painless,
-and- I remembered that that chick’s wandering black eyes had captivated him, too...)