I wanted a budgie.
I think I wanted one because they came in pretty colours . . . but also . . . because they were not cows. I had kind of had my fill of cows. Dairy will do that to you.
Have I ever told you how much I resent the hell out of the fact that when I was growing up no-one talked about being lactose intolerant or needing gluten free everything? That is right. We did not have cell phones, You Tube OR any of the nifty medical conditions. That shit is awesome. I guarantee some girl locked away somewhere in the deep farm land of Saskatchewan came up with that stuff. If I had heard of it, I would have read up, become the best lactose intolerant, gluton reactionariest, poster child that ever lived. I would have got me a note from the doctor excusing me from all things farm and caught the first one horse pony out of there.
But I didn't have options. I was stuck.
So I wanted a budgie.
They brought me home a bird in a cage. It was kind of little. It was a sort of neon yellow and green strangely resembling the colour of Kool Aid crystals AND it was bald. They told me it had issues because it was not loved enough as an egg and I could heal it with my love and care.
Well get the marshmallows and chocolate out, it was like a torch with gasoline on my fire. I was big time into loving everything. I actually WAS the poster child for flower children. We were like hippies except we wore flowers in our hair before we smoked them and we never bothered wearing bras that eventually needed to be burned, they just got in the way of, and delayed, the loving. I wanted to heal the world. I was part of the movement of wanting to "teach the world to sing in perfect harmony" which got downgraded to just wanting to "buy the world a coke and keep them company."
I loved and cared for my budgie even though it was uglier than all get out and grew too big for the cage. Turned out the yellow and green WAS Kool Aid powder and my budgie was mud black. "Fluffy" never ever grew a single feather out of its bald head no matter how much I loved him.
Then one day my brother was tanning down by the creek and he started screaming. Fluffy was trying to peck out his eyes. THAT was when I realized, Fluffy was not a budgie at all. He was a vulture! I went turbo hysterical that I had been lied to. My grandparents had no idea what I was talking about. WHICH lie was a referring to? Turns out my family made a practice of lying to me about all kinds of things. They said it was no big deal and I suspect they put valium in my oatmeal again, just to keep me calm and make sure I got on the bus every morning to go to school and not spill the beans on why my brother's face had all those peck marks all over it.
I think that was the only month that my report card did not say that I talked too much and tended to interrupt the class with my plans to take over the world.
However, a few weeks later when a couple of cows were found gutted behind the barn and one of the farm hands swore he saw Fluffy flying off with a cow leg in its mouth, Fluffy mysteriously disappeared while I was at school one day.
My brother pointed out to me that Fluffy he had probably answered the call of the wild and returned back to his natural environment which would not include a made over Barbie Motor Home with a Lace Canopy bed. He did his whole cycle of life speech.
Some say growing up on the farm exposes you to the realities of life that city kids miss out on. Some say it is an ideal way of life. I just know that my brother and I were blessed to learn many important life lessons from the nature and animals around us. My brother was right, animals had a natural environment that we, as humans, should learn to respect and not try to make them into our dolls and keep them in gilded cages.
It was a really tender moment between us. I hugged him and pointed out that Fluffy was buried behind the barn, where my grandparents had also buried his pet goat that did not run away like they said it had. The truth was, that in the cycle of farm life, the cows were much more valuable than a vulture and they could not
/would not allow for their precious cows to be taken out. I also pointed out that both the cows AND the vulture were more important to them than he was, being as they did not kill Fluffy after he tried to disembowel him. I gave him some alone time to let that sink in.
I know there are city kids everywhere reading this story and cursing their families for not moving to the farm. Farm kids ... the luckiest darned kids ever.
Oh, and cows are precious.
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