She was sitting on the couch, in the throes of that ‘folding laundry every day’ stage when she noticed it. Out of the corner of her eye, a gentle snowfall… such peaceful beauty. The kind of large, soft flakes that entice children to open their mouths. But of course, it was June.
So, if it’s white like snow, and falls like snow…
Tossing the laundry aside, she rose to investigate the matter falling outside her living room window. The deck was splattered, covered with small white pieces … pieces still currently falling... pieces of… why, yes, of course … insulation. From her house. Squinting, she craned her neck upward as the innards of her home were being displaced and replaced with the makings of a woodpecker’s home.
All that pecking. Go figure. No wonder she kept going to answer the front door over the last few weeks. Thinking she was hearing things… or maybe hoping to catch the neighborhood kids playing ding-dong-ditch-it. It had remained a mystery. Until that very moment.
Happy to prove she wasn’t losing her mind, she confidently brought up the topic at the dinner table that night. All of the current residents under the age of 8 jumped up from their macaroni and cheese to catch a glimpse of the new boarders. The father mentioned he might have heard something. The male youngsters thought it was “tight,” the youngest girl couldn’t see, and the baby was smearing macaroni and cheese on the clothes that would be washed and folded the next day.
Short of adopting the Early American Swiss Cheese look in housing exteriors, the husband did a bit of his own investigating. Mylar balloons, fake owls, even empty garbage bags nailed to the wooden exterior and flailing in the wind fell short of choice alternatives. He consulted a hunting friend.
Happy he was on to the solution, he confidently brought up the topic of BB guns at dinner the next night. All of the current residents under the age of 8 looked up from their spaghetti and garlic bread. The male youngsters were wide eyed and speechlessly agreed with their father’s solution. The little girl was still trying to catch on as the mother mentioned the “No Guns” rule and said something like “over my dead body” because she didn’t want to sound so predictable with “you’ll shoot your eye out” and she had already overused it in its various adaptations for running with scissors, etc.
After church on Sunday, the men took off for the sporting goods store faster than bats out of hell. The mother stewed, while double checking the quickest route to the nearest emergency room.
All afternoon there was a flurry of cardboard cutting and magic marker circles… making targets for a day of, well … target practice. Except no one hit the bull’s eye. The mother had been inside all afternoon, at the ready. Keys, purse, insurance card, ice pack… just in case. Dinner was in the oven, laundry folded, and that glorious Sunday afternoon nap was calling. Except she couldn’t sleep. She kept peering out the window, steeped in her “I hate guns” attitude, but slightly curious as to how much fun they were having. Lots of fun. There was laughter, cheers, declarations of “my turn!” an occasional ping of the tin can and those manly guttural exclamations of hits and misses. So she went to investigate what all the
fun fuss was about. “Oh, alright,” she said, taking the gun that had not been offered to her. “I’ll give it a try.” The husband graciously showed her how to hold the BB gun and explained that the “ridge thingys,” were really called sights, and she might want to balance herself on something, and/or hold her breath.
She lowered her chin, took aim through the sight thingys, held her breath and squeezed the trigger. Bulls eye. The boys were proud. All of them. After her third bulls eye, they looked chagrined… but happy there was now a gun lover in the house.
Getting ready for Bible study on Monday afternoon, there came a familiar knock at the door. A maniacal chuckle rose from within as her hands grabbed the pre-loaded, cocked and locked BB gun from above the frig. Smiling at the thought of Elmer Fudd and Bugs Bunny, she was vewy, vewy qwiet. Her jean skirted, gun toting self tiptoed to the sun porch couch and she lowered herself into its perch, slowly cranking the window open just enough to allow room for the barrel. With heart pounding, erratic breathing, hands shaking, the fact remained that she was in the protruding sun porch aiming a gun back towards the rest of the house. A prayer drifted out the window while she calculated the cost of replacing the picture windows on either side of the nest. Taking aim, she held her breath and shot that woodpecker dead. First try. Bah!! A guttural cry of success erupted from within.
Her pride rose as a fluff of feathers floated to the deck next to the dearly departed. Her heart raced. She could hear her blood pumping. She called the husband. She called the hunter friend and laughed in unearned camaraderie, apologizing for her years of Bambi whining. Her adrenalin was pumping… this is what they called “buck fever!” Goodness, she had no idea how hard they would laugh at dinner that night when she called it “pecker fever.” The youngsters didn’t get it.
The mate showed up the next day and the woman suffered a great deal of remorse at the sight of the widowed bird… for a few minutes. Until she shot that one too. She held her breath, prayed about that picture window and said “Amen.” Better to be in paradise together.
She didn’t fancy herself a gun-totin’, bible-thumpin’, jean-skirtin’, bird-shootin’, laundry-foldin’ kind of gal. But if felt good to defend her home. And, it sure made dinner time more interesting. Currently, she’s thinking of making a bird mobile to hang from the ceiling fan. She’s might call it “Birds In Fright,” or maybe she’ll bring it full circle and turn that bird carcass into a door knocker after all.