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 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. Some kids did drugs to rebel, I wanted a budgie instead of a cow.
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. Flower children who were going to love the world to death were like hippies except we didn’t smoke ALL the flowers and we never bothered wearing bras that eventually needed to be burned, they just got in the way of, and delayed, the whole loving “ceremony.” 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.”
Most of us are now old people drinking coke in a dark dirty front room somewhere all by ourselves. We shoot company. People should mind their own damned business and leave us the hell alone.
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.
Then one day my brother was tanning down by the creek, pretending he was growing up handsome and someone would care, 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. But when I confronted my family I actually had to explain WHICH lie I was referring to. My family was big on lying and no-one had catalogued the lies so that I could easily reference the exact one I meant. Turns out my family made a practice of lying to me about all kinds of things. They said it was no big deal and we would talk in the morning after breakfast. After breakfast I was too busy looking at the pretty way the sun fairies danced across the toast that was morphing into baby unicorns.
I suspect they put valium in my oatmeal again, just to keep me calm and orderly.
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 was a cow murderer. They told me Fluffy mysteriously”disappeared” while I was at school one day.
My brother pointed out to me that Fluffy had probably answered the call of the wild and returned back to his natural environment which would not include the made over Barbie Motor Home with a lace canopy bed, I had provided for him. He did his whole “cycle of life” speech with a smirk on his face.
I cried for weeks, for my vulture Fluffy. It was not his fault he was part of a bigger plan of evil people to masquerade his entire life as if he were a budgie and had used
chemicals Kool Aid to create the illusion. I begged them to tie my brother another cow to a stake and hope to entice him to come home. I even offered to kill him it so it would be proper carrion.
They sang Que Sera, Sera to me.
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. It can be a cruel, hard life with lessons on things that can really tear at the fabric of Disney wallpaper. 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 we should not try to make them into our dolls and keep them in gilded cages.
In the end, after a few weeks, I realized losing Fluffy was such a pivotal, precious experience for my brother and I. One night as we stood together looking out over the land, I hugged him and pointed out that I knew Fluffy was buried behind the barn, where my grandparents had also buried his pet goat that did not run away either, like they had told him. I pointed out that the stew we had that same night his goat left, was not chicken. I talked about cannibalism and how it applies when you eat your best friend, whether it is a human . . . or a goat. I pointed out he had no friends and he was not growing up handsome, even if he tanned.
I wanted him to know the truth. 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. Thus, Fluffy HAD to die.
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.