Have you ever been faced with a dilemma? It’s obvious something is happening, but you aren’t quite sure what? Then, when you find out, what do you do about it?
Many years ago, when our children were small and we were young and stupid, we decided to move to the country. This, in itself, was a wonderful idea. It would allow our boys to run and play unencumbered, climb trees, safely ride their bikes, have pets, get a horse, all the things kids do in the country.
We found the place. It was perfect. Located in a great school district, it was convenient to work and not so far out of town as to make us feel isolated. And there were neighbors, so we didn’t feel completely alone.
We settled in. The children loved their school. I loved the house. My husband loved his new tractor. The world was right in our little Elysian field. There soon came the inevitable menagerie of animals. Horses, cows, the collection of cats that seemed to come and then go, never to return. A dog much too large for small children. Chickens, geese, and turkeys. It was soon Ol’ McDonald’s farm.
One night, something happened that caused both my husband and me to sit bolt-upright in bed, instantly awakened from a deep sleep. Was that a woman screaming? It sounded like it, but we couldn’t be sure. We listened but no more sound came to our ears. We laughed slightly at each other for imagining the worst and went back to sleep.
A few nights later the same thing happened. I looked at the clock. It was early. I peeked outside and saw nor heard anything else. The sky was just beginning to show signs of morning. Now that I was awake and out of bed, I went to the kitchen to start breakfast.
My husband came through to get his morning cup of coffee. “You heard it too?”
“Yes,” I said as I sipped my cup of black brew. “What do you suppose it is? It can’t really be a woman screaming… can it?”
We had new neighbors. Who knew what they were up to, really?
“Nah,” my husband replied, shaking his head. However, he looked less than certain.
This continued for several mornings. Until I had had enough. I was bound to get to the bottom of this! When the first scream began, I grabbed my flashlight (one big enough to use as a weapon if need be) and headed out the door. I followed the sound. It was very close. That actually scared me a little bit but I was determined.
The night was giving way to light, and I could see without the aid of the flashlight. I switched it off as I followed the sound and came around the corner of the house to the driveway, where our cars were parked. Like most people I knew, we never parked in the garage because that particular space was already full of things like bikes, Christmas decorations, dog kennels, boxes of seasonal clothes, and sundry things that should be gotten rid of but were deemed still too valuable to part with.
So, our cars sat on the driveway. Unprotected. And this morning, as I rounded the corner of the house, the screaming creature that had disrupted our sleep and sent our minds to places they did not want to go, sat proudly atop my car.
I stopped in my tracks, shocked and surprised, my husband and children piling up behind me. My third grader pushed his way forward and announced, quite proudly, “Oh, yeah, the Smiths got peacocks!”
I looked at him, dumbfounded. “And you did not think to mention this?”
He looked at me with that look only a smart-alack third-grade boy can muster and said with a little shrug. “I thought you knew!”
I learned a valuable lesson right then: if I wanted to know something, ask one of the kids. They probably already knew. My husband and I had been so concerned about protecting them from the possibility of something nefarious going on in the neighborhood that we completely missed the fact that they already knew about it!
The sun had peeked over the horizon by now and I could see the creature in all its glory. He was a beautiful turquoise that glistened like jewels as the sun’s rays hit his plumage. He gave a little shudder of his body and, flapping out his wings, lifted off from the roof of my car and headed home. A peacock in flight is a sight to behold!
My heart swelled at the sheer wonder of such a creature. But, as my eyes turned back to my car, my heart sank. My beautiful vehicle was covered with big, blackish-greenish splats of peacock poop! I sucked in my breath in an audible gasp and my family tucked tail and retreated to the safety of the house.
This peacock love affair with my car went on for several days. Occasionally, my car was clean, so I knew the lothario had spent the night somewhere else, spreading his good cheer. At least, I thought meanly, it wasn’t at my house. One morning, as I made coffee, I looked out the kitchen window to be met, full in the face, by the beady, unblinking eye of none other than Mr. Peacock. He had spent the night on the deck railing. And the patio furniture. And anything else he could perch on. Peacock poop was everywhere. And let me tell you, it is a stinky, vile concoction of grasses and digestive juices. It is like glue and it stains and does not want to come off. Something had to be done.