Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Feather Phobia

I was just over visiting Dee from Downunder ( Today’s post is a list of 10 honest things about herself – and very brave and honest they are, too – and one caught my eye.

She doesn’t care for birds.

I immediately felt a sense of rapport with this lady on the other side of the globe, because she’s figured out what so few people have: that birds are really just rats with wings.

Okay, I know all the bird lovers out there will set up a squawk, but I have valid reasons for my antipathy.

When I was six or seven, my Great-Aunt Nini (actually Geneva – they didn’t name her till she was five and allowed her to pick her own name) owned a little green parakeet named Tommy. Tommy was getting on in years, and he had a big pink tumor on his belly, which was disgusting just for starters.

Anyway, every week after church my sister, Rita, and I would stop by to visit Aunt Nini and she would give us cheese on crackers and these little glasses of Coca-Cola. We rarely had soda pop at our house, so this was a huge treat.

But every week when we were there, Aunt Nini would say, “Pet Tommy.”

“I don’t want to pet Tommy,” I’d whine. “He pecks me.”

She’d look shocked. “Tommy would never do that.”

So I’d stick my skinny little finger through the cage wire and Tommy would peck the fire out of it. Every week this would happen, with it coming as news to Aunt Nini every single time.

Fast forward to fifth grade, when Linda Bell brought her parakeet for show and tell. She was walking up and down the rows of desks, allowing the bird to hop from her finger to each classmate’s as I watched in horror, knowing my turn was coming. I couldn’t quite come up with the courage to say, “Keep that vile thing away from me,” but when it was my turn, as soon he got one of his bony little feet on my finger, my terror won out and I jerked my hand away, nearly turning Linda Bell’s beloved pet into a miniature version of the Thanksgiving wishbone.

And there have been other incidents over the years. Like the time when I was cleaning my downstairs neighbor’s apartment (I was a single mom at the time and needed the cash) while he was out of town and his parrot flew out of his cage and landed on my shoulder, causing said neighbor’s apartment to nearly also need a good carpet cleaning. I had to call one of his friends to come get the bird off my shoulder, while I waited, rigid, for him to arrive.

Or the time I was at a picnic and a bird flew by overhead and pooped in my plate and down my leg, earning me the nickname “Bird Woman” among my friends to this day.

There is one thing I like to do with birds, though: dinner.

Every time I stop by the Colonel’s, I figure I’ve evened the score just a little bit.


  1. Funny! Yesterday, I drove by a neighborhood church that must have had 300 starlings on their snow covered lawn... It looked like something out of "The Omen"...

  2. Hee! I'm actually scared of seagulls. Not a general bird phobia, but a very narrow one against the most noxious rats of the sky. :)

    Here's hoping your holiday season is completely devoid of any partridges in a pear tree!

  3. Um, the thing that stuck out to me in this post (although the bird stories are hilarious and I do agree) was that they let your aunt pick her own name? Seriously? How did you just skim over that? I want more!

  4. Crazy Momma -- in my "Happiest People in the World" post there's a whole discussion on Appalachians, and the whole name thing that goes on in that culture (or used to).

    Weirder than that, my sister used to live with 7 people named Don. The father (Don) named all six kids after himself (ala George Foreman): the boys were Don Darryl, Don Junior (yeah, I have no idea why he wasn't the first one), Oddist Don and Hubert Don and the girls were Misty Dawn, Wendy Dawn and Crystal Dawn.

  5. 1. My mother was terrified of birds, ever since she saw her first in-the-theater movie in high school: Hitchcock's "The Birds."

    2. I love birds! That said, I prefer them in the wild, and not tweetering away in a cage in my kitchen.

    3. You are lucky you ended up with a "normal" name!

  6. May you always enjoy eating chicken knowing it's a DEAD bird.

    It's all how you look at things. You're doing your part by eating a bird to get rid of the bird population. :)

  7. All I could think of reading this post was Tippy Hedron and Alfred Hitchcock!

  8. OK, that's just plain freaky......those are some crazy feathered stories!

  9. ...And I thought I had issues.

    Yesterday everyone was gushing about fudge recipes and today Ms. Raisy has me wondering if there will be chickens in Heaven...and if any of them will remember me.

  10. And yet you wear earrings with cranes or something. You do know those are birds, right? Anyway, I did my part - had eggs for dinner.

  11. I secretly wished that Sylvester would catch and eat Tweety. And I didn't care much for Woodstock. Snoopy didn't need him hanging around.

    That Seven Don thing. I have never laughed so hard! Please do a post on them!!

  12. Very interesting! Rats with wings! I have never thought of them that way before. I do recall a Banty Rooster that wanted to eat me alive when I was little.:0

  13. I love this story, and your ending about KFC! Never thought about it that way, but they always seem to poop on me right in the middle of the crowds...

    Nice blog BTW...

  14. Visiting from SITS.
    I own 2 lovebirds and found your comment that birds are rats with wings funny!

  15. Hi! Thanks for the link, glad my little blog could let you release you bird aversion. You win though, your experiences are worse than mine!

  16. LOL. Great post....I have a serious "hatred/fear" of birds. It was one of my 7 weird things post....

    My fingers started shuttering when you wrote about the show and tell at school. :)


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