Friday, February 12, 2010

I'll always remember: Daddy teasing the Girl Scouts

I was a Girl Scout for many years, all the way up until I graduated high school.  Sometimes I liked being a Girl Scout, sometimes not so much, but I will always and forever remember the day my dad told one of the girls in my troop that we had a dead bird in our living room.  Although I wasn't there, my family's sarcasm is so acute that I didn't need to be. I am still able to picture exactly what happened.

I remember the gal's name was Sherry.  Even though today I wouldn't be able to pick her out of a lineup, I can still remember she had dirty-blonde hair with curls that always looked like they needed to be combed.  She wasn't an especially clean kid, but when kids are 10 years old how many of them are very clean anyway?  When I think of her I remember Koolaid mustaches and stained t-shirts.

I'm sure she turned out lovely.  Again, I wouldn't recognize her if she was right in front of me.  Now I'm not even certain her name was Sherry!

At any rate, one of the girls in my troop, who may or may not have been named Sherry and may or may not have had blonde hair, came in from our renovated garage where we had our meetings.  Yes, we had the meetings at my house.

She probably went to use the bathroom in that hallway, or maybe to get a drink of water from the kitchen.  I don't know, but somehow she ended up talking to my dad, who was sitting on the couch watching tv.  Innocently.

My dad can be a scary guy.  He's tall and formiddable, and the fact that he knows how intimidating he looks is just an inside joke with himself.  All in fun though.  All in fun.

I came by my anthoropomorphism honestly, straight from my mother.  At that time in my life we had a small zoo at our house, to include a parakeet that lived in a cage that hung from the ceiling.  Buttercup was the last surviving of our four parakeets that we'd had at one time.  We only ever purchased one bird, which I think is funny.  Two of our neighbors gave us their pets that they didn't want, and even the pet store gave my mom a bird once.  They saw her in the store all the time buying birdseed, so figured she would be a good home for a bird that couldn't be sold because at some time in her life her wing was broken and it never got set right, so it stuck out.

It was Buttercup, the free bird from the pet store, that lasted the longest.  She was a mean bird--in fact, she probably killed the second to the last bird, the blue one.  I forget what we used to call the blue one?

Anyway, without her little buddies, I guess Buttercup didn't have much to do, and a lot of the time she would just sit quietly in her cage.  When Sherry came in she didn't see her right away.  Did we move the cage?  I don't remember.

Sherry was probably nervous talking to my dad, and she asked him what happened to our bird.  And my dad, unsmiling, said simply, "It died."  Then I think his conscience thought better of the bluntness, or maybe he planned it all along, because without missing a beat he raised his arm and pointed at Buttercup, a convenient statue, and continued, "So we had it stuffed."

With a horrified glance, Sherry looked up at Buttercup, frozen on her perch playing along, and then over to my dad, serious and unreadable as dammit. Sherry gulped and tiptoed back to the meeting while dad went back to his tv show.  And what I'll always remember is my dad's laugh as he proudly recounted the exchange.

To this day, wherever she is, Sherry believes my folks taxidermied our yellow parakeet.

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