If you stroll down the alley behind my house and look up into the towering pear trees that line the fence, you will see an odd sight. There is something strange lodged up amidst the branches. You will stop and scratch your head, then shrug and continue on down the alley.
"Come here. I need to show you somethin'." That's all Alan said as he headed out the back door to the alley. "What? ..... Did I back into somethin'?" Silence. "What? ..... Did the cats do somethin'?" "Just follow me. I'll show you." "Is it gross? Is it somethin' really gross?! Seriously, Alan. You're creepin' me out right now." He stopped by the dumpster and pointed up to the pear tree saying nothing.
"Whu...I...Uh...I just...don't understand. What IS that?"
"Come here. I wanna show you somethin' else." I followed wordlessly trying to sort through the strange thoughts of government...or perhaps alien...surveillance devices that were swirling through my mind.
He stopped again on the driveway and pointed up.
By now, my confusion rounded the bend towards thoughts of little cracks in the gravitational force just above our trees causing random items to be yanked up skyward. Then, I remembered the evil apple orchard in The Wizard of Oz. A chill ran down my spine.
"What's goin' on here? Why is there a broom hangin' in the tree? I am SO CREEPED OUT right now!"
He simply pointed down. I saw and understood. "You're losin' the war, aren't you?" I asked feigning concern.
Alan has a personal deadly vendetta against birds. He is convinced that they have a personal passive-agressive vendetta against him.
Our next door neighbors have a wonderful, Snow White-esque relationship with all winged creatures. They fill up their bird-feeders throughout the long, cold winter. I'm certain that little bluebirds come and warble sweet songs to them in the early morning hours. "We love you! You feed us! Come out and play! We'll have fun all day!"
Then, the little buggers flit across the grass to our sidewalk and do this...
Alan's war has been raging for YEARS. HE. HATES. BIRD. POOP.
A few years ago, he bought a big plastic owl and put it up on the fence posts in the back yard in an effort to scare the birds away. He strategically moved Sir Scary Owl around the yard so that the birds wouldn't figure out that Sir Scary Owl was a plastic imposter. We all know that birds are smarter than that. They actually pooped on the owl.
When my mom moved from Waco to Lubbock, we ended up with the 3" thick 8-foot long wooden dowel rod that had once held up curtains in her living room. Alan stomped around the yard with that mighty dowel whacking the tree branches while yelling skyward. "Get out of here!!! GET. OUT. OF. MY. TREES!" The tiny winged monkeys simply flew across the street squawking wildly waiting for Alan's oh, so predictable retreat. Not a proud moment for Mr. Lackey.
For several seasons, the magnificent, maleficent dowel was kept in one of the tree wells leaning up against a tree as a constant reminder to the birds of the power man thinks he has over beasts. One day during a dowel-wielding rant, a particularly robust whack against the trunk of an oak tree broke the mighty sword in half. The birds are STILL telling the story. "You should have seen the guy's face when the top half of his weapon went flying across the grass!" Little reenactments of the historical event take place daily high in the branches of the red oaks in our front yard. "He was all...whack! whack-whack! Then, he was like...whut thuh?!" "Squawk! Squawk-squawk-squawk-squawk!"
One Father's Day, I bought a big ol' slingshot and a bag of dried pinto beans for Alan. "Let's see how many of them birds you can git with this!" I announced proudly. I reasoned that it would at least keep him busy and that no birds would be harmed in the process. I don't know what happened to that sling shot. I haven't seen it in a long while.
Standing in the driveway staring down at that disgusting bird poop with Alan, all of the mysteries were solved. Oh, how I wish that he would have invited me to the alley the day he was walking to the dumpster with the empty kitty litter bucket. I would have thoroughly enjoyed watching him haul off and fling that bucket up at the birds. The strength he possessed, born out of anger, propelled that missile deep into the branches of the tree. Alan against small, but powerful Goliaths. Alan against the winged Argonauts.
Now, about that broom. I probably won't get to use it again until all of the leaves have turned russet and fallen to the ground and a blue norther blows mightily across the Texas plains releasing it from the clutches of the frozen branches. Until then, it will remind me of the years of having little boys thundering out the back door in their Power Ranger Halloween costumes to battle the invisible bad guys who have overtaken the wooden fort. "Come on! Let's get 'em!!" Mayhaps, this Father's Day I should surprise Alan with a new sling shot, a giant bag of dried lima beans and a manly sized Power Ranger costume. You go, Al. You go.
I simply can't help lovin' that man o' mine. Lord, thank you for giving me Alan. He truly is my mighty warrior and protector.