Mary Morony, Author of Apron Strings, Done Growed Up and If It Ain't One Thing

Thankful Bird

Thankful BirdMy friend Hans a thankful bird. A long time ago when I was little, come to think of it I wasn’t ever little. Back when I was a pup Mary had a flock of guinea fowl. You know those birds that look like clowns. They have white faces and red hangy down things that look a little like jowls. Not like a dog jowls handsome and worthy of pride more like if jowls looked like horns on clowns. You might be wondering how I know about clowns, Mary’s granddaughter showed me a picture one day when we were coloring.

These loud-mouthed birds have feathers that are black and white spotted. I’m not kidding when I say loud mouthed. It took me a week to get over the insult when I heard Mary say that the guineas are better watchdogs than Sophie and me. We get yelled at when we make the kind of racket these birds make.  They get laughs.

Every car that comes in the driveway is gabbled over. The stupid birds march around looking at themselves in the wheels and sometimes even jump upon the cars and look at themselves in the glass. Vain, like you, wouldn’t believe! Would you mind scratching under my ear? Yea, right there.

I guess you can tell I’m not crazy about guineas. Did I say they were stupid? I gotta scratch on that one, excuse me. Ah, that’s better. Dumb as a bag of seed. It didn’t take too long before only  just two birds remained. I swear I never ate a one. Well, I did help Lots O’ Dog catch a few, but I didn’t eat them, Dog’s honor!

The last two took to roosting in the maple tree. I remember it was around this time. All of the leaves had fallen off the tree. I heard someone call the day Thanksgiving. Don’t get me started on why humans only have one day for Thanksgiving. The guineas had gone to sleep in the tree as usual. Sophie, Lots and I were lying out in the yard gazing at the moon when all of a sudden we saw this massive bird swoop down and knock one of the sleeping guineas out of the tree. The bird didn’t have a chance they sleep with their heads under their wings. I told you they were dumb. The guinea fell like a rock and this big ol flat face bird just swooped down, picked it up and carried it off. All three of us dogs commented on what an excellent kill it was.

Now we were down to one guinea and I was beginning to think there finally be a little peace and quiet around. Mary started calling the lone bird Hans Solo. Everybody but us dogs thought that was funny.

I did feel sort of sorry for Hans. He stood by the front door staring in all winter. When he wasn’t by the door, he was standing on a deck chair looking in a window. It was pathetic. By that next spring, Mary had found on some list called Craig some more guineas for sale. Hubins had to get up real early in the morning to pick the birds up way before any of us ever considered leaving our beds unless a coyote howled or something needed a barking at.

I’m not sure if I heard his truck or heard Hans yelling from the roof. He had moved his bedroom to under the eaves of the house since Thanksgiving. I guess he wasn’t all that dumb.

Hubins was carrying a big box across the yard to the chicken pen. The day before, I had noticed that Hubins had covered the top of the fowl yard with some black cloth. Hans was watching from the roof squawking away. Once he got the to the pen, Hubins put the box down and closed the gate before opening the flaps of the box.

Six more confounded loud birds poured out of the box a started up a racket like you wouldn’t believe. Sophie and Lots came right out, and we barked at those birds to shut their beaks. Hans had flown off the roof the minute he heard the first peep from the box and was running around like crazy chirping and yelling. I don’t think I ever saw a more thankful  bird.

img_0530It has been two or so years since then, and we are back to just two birds, Hans and Solo. I kind of grown fond of the two of them. I hope that flat face bird stays away this Thanksgiving. Hagar out for now.canine cunundrums


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