This post is part of an archive. To read the current version, we recommend “Dodo Egg or Chicken Poop.”
Let’s play a game. I am offering you two stories. One is mostly truth and the other is thick with lies (er…embellishments). Your job is to pick the dodo egg from the fond memory.
A well-run ranch needs many strong calloused hands to function properly. Sometimes these hands need to be hired out and when these run out they hire silk-palmed, won’t-touch-a-bug pansies like me.
The season had come to dock (remove the tails) and castrate the lambs. My job was to chase down each lucky animal and hold it while the necessary removals were completed. Tails were simply snipped and the testes were bound by a thick rubber band, which cut off circulation.
One of the hired hands brought his boy with him a young man of only seven years. He hung from the gate nearest his father with hands over the top and his boots through one of the gate’s iron crossbars. The boy’s blue eyes widened then squinted with imagined pain following each successive operation.
“Dad what are you doing to the sheep’s unders?”
His father’s eyebrow raised a bit while he conjured a G rated response. “Well, we’re removing their tonsils. The rubber band cuts of blood, the tonsils die, and they just fall off.”
I smiled enjoying the man’s efforts to protect his son’s innocence and cowardly way he went about it. It was later that I heard the rest of the story. Apparently the boy developed tonsillitis only a few weeks later and when the doctor told him his tonsils would need to be removed…well…the scene involved several hasty explanations and a lot of lollipops.
It was a perfect day with sunshine warming my skin coupled with a cool breeze heavy with the smell of freshly cut grass. I was sitting in a plastic lawn chair with a wicker basket wedged between my legs. Little children darted around snatching colorful Easter eggs peeking up from the shallow grass. The only wrinkle was the colorblind boy who kept grabbing droppings left from the neighbor’s huge mastiff, pulling his hand away in horror, and then crying for his mother.
My wife leaned over and whispered into my ear. “Maybe being colorblind isn’t the only issue.”
I pulled another egg from my son’s basket. It popped open with just a small squeeze along the seam. “Oh, good a chocolate bar. That’s better than some of the other junk I’ve been forced to eat today.” I closed the emptied egg and placed it on one side of the basket along with the other inspected eggs.
“Would you stop eating your son’s candy?”
“I’m teaching him to share. You keep saying that’s important.”
The next egg wasn’t as good. It was five jelly beans; three of them were licorice flavored. Those black poison pills masqueraded as candy but I knew better. I began pitching them aside.
“That’s it.” She took the basket and marched after our little boy.
The grandfather sitting nearby chucked a bit. “Son, I’ll give you a dollar if you throw that last jellybean at your wife.”
I took him up on it. I wasn’t aiming at anything in particular; it was just a haphazard toss. Her striped shirt had slightly pulled away from her jeans, which offered the thinnest of midriffs. The bean arched perfectly and landed along the small of her back then disappeared down her pants. She stopped instantly and stiffened.
I turned slowly toward the old man with a smug look hanging on my face.
“Here’s your dollar son. I hope it was worth it.”
So, which is nine parts truth? I’ll tell you later.