Wednesday, August 21, 2013

127 Hours

copyright 08/21/2013

I should have called this 48 hours because that's about the length of time I'm going to cover - my last 48 hours.  But how boring can I get?  So I'm calling it 127 hours.  Much better, don't you think?  Anyway I sort of have a reason for the name.

It began late afternoon, day before yesterday.  I have been taking the guineas outside and putting them in Mr.Buns' old cage.  He was a rabbit.  Enough said about that, for now.  I was just about to bring them inside when the phone rang.  It was the Elder.  He was sitting in traffic in Houston.  We talked about this and that, movies mostly, while he intermittently cursed the traffic until he got home.

Back to the guineas.  I have seen them all my life but never up close and personal.  We didn't have any nor did my family or neighbors.  I had not had these long, maybe at the first sign of feathers, when I realized they were not like chickens.  They were wild.  And these were still little.  I had been taking them outside during the day.  I kept an eye on them because of predators and the cage being somewhat flimsy.  I have a sturdier cage but it is smaller and they can get out of it when the tray is removed.  So I've been putting them in the bigger cage during the day and cleaning the smaller cage.  Then bringing them in at night because I really don't trust even the smaller cage against dogs and coyotes

So I went outside to bring the little darlings in.

The door to cage was open.  The cage was empty.  Gone.  That's all I could think.  All of them.  Gone.

Maybe not.

In the edge of the woods I heard a peep, a chirp, a guinea sound.  Yes!  There were four bunched together and they wanted something.  From their body language, (I know *snicker* please) they weren't at all sure it was me they wanted.  So slowly I began trying to herd them toward the cage thinking any second they would go running, even flying off in four different directions.  But, no worries.  I might as well have put a big sign on the cage in guinea speech saying home.  All they needed was pointing in the right direction.  They showed no desire whatsoever to pass GO and collect two hundred dollars.  They wanted to go directly home.

My search for the remaining eight yielded no clue.  Not a sound could I hear.  No track or blood or feather could I find.

I beat myself up for awhile before deciding shit happens.  I had done the best I could or at least what I truly believed was adequate.  Because these were, after all, animals whose lives were always to be in jeopardy.  There was no safe barnyard with a friendly old dog and a youngster with a shotgun to protect them.  I had them for a purpose and they would have to survive in the wild as was their want.  I couldn't afford to get emotionally attached.

Emotionally attached or not, I went outside a couple times that night but heard nothing.  The next morning...nothing.  Around noon I went outside again to look.  Guineas!  All eight pecking happily in the grass.  Now it would be just a matter of herding them up.  No.  They had gotten a taste of freedom and they were not about to go anywhere near the cage.

About every hour or so I would go out to see how it was going.  And how it was not going good, err well.  The guineas were gone again.  Later in the afternoon though, I heard chirp, chirp, chirp.  It was a lone guinea saying I'm hungry or I want my mama.  Not sure which I still get confused on those two sounds.  Regardless, it did not want to be herded but it did go in the general direction of the cage.  Until it stopped.  It stood there with its feet spaced apart and firmly planted, head raised as if to say, "I won't come to you but I'll allow you to catch me."  I thought, "okay, I've never played this game with my clothes on but I'll give it a shot."  As stealthily as I could, which is not saying a lot, I lunged and grabbed.  Success!  I now had five guineas but neither of the little light gray ones.

It must have been around 5:00 PM when I went out intending for it to be my last trip.  The Younger was coming later, I was cooking supper and he was going to spend the night.

The rest of the guineas were back!  And this time they were wandering toward me!  Incredibly they just came up and walked right into the cage.  As soon as I gave them food I knew why.  Guineas are not entirely stupid.  They know which side of the bread the butter is on.

About 8:00 PM, the Younger came in.
He said, "Dad, I brought us a movie to watch if we don't spend all our time talking.  I have been kind of wanting to see it.  It's a true story.  I know what happens but I like the director.  Since you like true stories so much it would be a good time to watch it if you want."

We ate and talked.  Watched the movie and talked during it because I knew the story too.  It was about the guy was had gone out to propel off a cliff and gotten his arm wedged between a big rock and the opposing rock face.  Shit happens.

We talked mostly about writing and writers.  I had thought Hemingway was a much more admired writer than Fitzgerald.  He said that was probably true at one time but not anymore.  I won't get into that.  He said Hemingway was a minimalist and talked about that for bit.  He told me that once some of the writers had, had a contest to see who could write the shortest story.  Hemingway won.  This is the story he wrote:

For sale baby shoes.  Never worn.

Many things can be deduced from this story and and perhaps none of them are trivial but something happened.  I think Hemingway probably invented the phrase shit happens.

I said, "oh by the way, what is the name of the movie?"
The reply, "127 Hours."


David Oliver said...

Even with the time I spent on this, I wanted to polish a little after publishing. So if you read it in the first 30 minutes after it was published, it has been changed slightly.

Gorilla Bananas said...

I'm so glad that shit didn't happen to your birds! Real life had a happier ending than the movie, which doesn't happen that often. Have the chicks now accepted you as their mother hen?

David Oliver said...

*laughing* Unfortunately no. I'm just the guy who feeds them and wipes their butt.

Helsie said...

Great result with the Guineas though at first I thought they were pigs until you mentioned feathers!!(guinea pigs I mean)
Since seeing the movie Midnight in Paris I have a reawakened interest in Hemmingway and Fitzgerald and the new version of the movie The Great Gatsby added more fuel. I've since reread Gatsby and for the life of me can't work out why he (Fitzgerald )is so famous but Hemmingway? He certainly knew how to use words!

David Oliver said...

Helsie, in recent years the wild life population in this area has exploded. Deer often graze in my front yard! Often at night I can hear coyotes howl. With this came an explosion in the population of ticks and fleas. Guinea fowl are supposed to be excellent at both survival against predators and reducing the insect population. We'll see.

Yes Hemingway did! Despite the popularity of Fitzgerald right now, I'm still a big fan of Hemingway.

A Beer for the Shower said...

Guinea herding sounds exhausting. I'm glad at least you got some of them properly wrangled up.

Also, I've never read any Hemingway or Fitzgerald. What kind of writer am I, right?

David Oliver said...

A good one. Apparently it is not a requirement.

Yes guinea herding is exhausting. I just woke up and I need a nap.

Andrew Leon said...

I am not a fan of Hemingway. At least, I wasn't in my youth. I've been thinking I should try him again because I think I have some of his tendencies. I might like, too much, leaving things for the reader to figure out or not figure out and, really, what does it really matter what the characters look like when the important part is the story and who the characters are?

David Oliver said...

Right. At least that's my thinking. It depends on what the story is about and how it is structured. I don't think it is a one size fits all thing. One story might need long character descriptions while it would just ruin another. Hemingway's short story for example. said...

I'm so glad the guineas came home to their rightful human. Your son sounds like a bright guy. I like Hemingway's story, though I find it sad.

Be well, David.

John Going Gently said...

Guinea come home
I sense a ruddy mc dowel kind of movie

David Oliver said...

I laughed about the "rightful human."

Of course I think both sons are bright. They are just very different. And thanks!

Same here about Hemingway. Just about every reason I came up with for selling was bad except possibly the baby had very big feet!

David Oliver said...

John, John, John! I had to google. And I'm still not sure if I know what you mean. I'm guessing Roddy McDowall. If correct, then no, no, no. Not even close.

Dr. Kenneth Noisewater said...

Fun pet adventures. Those little guys had to come home with their tails between their legs and admit they can't make it out in wild in this topsy-turvy world. : )

David Oliver said...

Don't I know it? My Grandmother was fond of saying it takes all kinds to make the world. I don't know if it takes all kinds but I know we've got all kinds - both human and beasties.

ADRIAN said...

Daft birds but I know who is both softer and dafter.
I'm happy they are back.
Another good read. Thank you.

David Oliver said...

*laughing* Yep. And to prove it, just a few minutes ago I opened their cage door to let them outside! They've begun to hang together and herd easily enough and so I gave 'em some freedom!

troutbirder said...

Great post. I like the "imprinting" part. Motherhood looked kind of trying....:)

David Oliver said...

Thanks TB. *laughing* Imprinting and motherhood difficult? You bet! I have another story to tell. I think these guineas are in their teenage stage now and all of us parents know what that means.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Hurrah! The guinea fowl are home! You are a good guinea daddy after all. By the way, I loved the film to which you refer - so skilfully and tenderly "executed".

David Oliver said...

Aww, Mr. Pudding I don't if I'm a good daddy. I've tried to keep 'em fed, safe and give 'em as much freedom as I possibly could. That's all I can do. My training/teaching skills are naught.

I liked the film very much too and you have described it well.

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