I know……most of you have been waiting for a TRUE story. Well, here it is! It will be up to you to decide which part. As you may be aware, I don’t do TOTALLY- true.
The warm sun was pouring into the upstairs, co-educational, bedrooms of a little old white farmhouse-with-a windmill, formerly occupied by the owner’s son and family. This was one of the many farm buildings and residences on Ches-Mar Farms, Excelcior , Minnesota. Some were very old, others fairly new. There were some seven families in a compound arrangement on the top side of 360 acres that rolled into the banks of Lake Minnewashita, a medium size private water playground for the radically active.
Bud, our hero, pulled his curtains back to check out the mid- summers morning. Perfect ! he judged, for today’s project. He shook Luke, his younger brother, only to get a “Go away!” response and a quick rollover for his trouble. Luke, therefore, will remain out of this story.
Bud counted Saturday as his absolute favorite day; when he got to go with Mike, the handyman, on his regular route to….. you guessed it …..” THE DUMP”. Seven stops in and out of the driveways on paved road…. then over hill and dale, to the far north end of the property to that perfect “hidden treasures” destination.
Mike had pulled up in a beat up truck, the old motor chugging away. He leaned on the horn, causing a brief stir in all the critters , rabbits and such that shared the garage and yards. Bud came tumbling off the porch barefoot; tennies in one hand, and buttoning his work shirt with the other.
” Where ya bin? I’ve used a gallon of gas just sittin’ here twiddling my thumbs! Garbage don’t wait!” He complained.
“Sorry, I’ll be early next time…… and here’s a nickel for gas” he said, as he tossed it on the dash giving Mike a poke on the arm. Mike looked out the side window as he smiled and they were off with a grind and a lurch from the ailing transmission. But, not before giving Bud a friendly bump on the leg with his.
The snow that had presented a barrier to real gem discovery for months, was no longer piled upon the mound. Bud had found on his most recent pick; a golf club, a spray bottle for the lake, a little empty tool chest, and a rubber bag with a tube connected to it. These were to be stored with his other valuables in a cardboard box in the garage.
Mike made his last deposit on the huge pile, noticing a rustle in the garbage heap. “Want some rats for your collection, Bud?” He called. No thanks, you can have ’em” came the response. as Bud took his shirt off for the last stop …….the lake!
The minute the motor cranked up, something else jumped up over in the bushes behind the old metal barrel and stack of tires. “You see that?” Mike blurted, pointing in that direction.
“See what?” answered Bud – just as he caught a glimpse of a bushy tail plunging into the brush.
“It’s Red, that sneaky fox I told you about last trip, that I caught messin’ around the barn last Saturday” Mike added, popping the truck into first gear. “Nooo visit to the lake this morning!”
Bud agreed “Let’s git ’em before he eats somebody!”
You see Bud had been warned not to get to close to the fox because ” It was risky”. While he looked pretty much like a dog, he remembered Mikes advice; ” He may look friendly, but you turn your back………… Look what happened to the chickens! It took me all morning to clean the blood off the coup and git rid of the bodies.” He didn’t mention anything about the big addition to his freezer.
They raced back up the road, gravel flying, to find……..nothing but quiet… except for a brief conversation between the mares in the front stall.
We can forward now……. until later, just after lunch, when the girls always go up to the barn to check on the ponies, and maybe take a ride down to the lake. Bud could not do that, being advised by his mom, ” until he was seven” …. and he had a year to go. So, in the meantime, he was supposed to just a tag along, shoveling poop in his spare time… He hated that; but someone said “You gotta pay the price for the privilege” His under his breath response was…”I’ll just watch Mike, thank you!”
The three of them had just set their bikes down, when they heard a fluttering sound coming from somewhere behind the stalls.
And again……Bud grabbed a nearby rake knowing full well what “IT” was; “It’s Rea…..ud!” He screamed.
The girls were laughing their heads off,,,,,,,not knowing how serious a deal this could be.
Suddenly, Red appeared out front- not knowing which way to go; for out the corner of his crafty eye, he had spotted Butch; one of the two peacocks living on the place. Butch had swelled up, feathers every which way, bigger than the fox on his best day and he gave the fox such an evil eye it would make a Great Dane take cover.
Out of his mouth came “Heeonnnahh!
Red blinked twice, the hair standing up on his back, and his tail between his legs far enough that he could have had it for dinner.
And, even if we sent a pack of blood hounds after him, they would have died of exhaustion before they got a peek at that red tail.
Butch folded himself back into a round ball, smiled broadly, winked at Bud who was just taking his fingers out of his ears. He had heard many scary sounds, but this could scare the pee out of anybody. ( Sorry, this is a story for the young… perhaps urine would be a better choice. XXXXX that’s better; “urine out of anybody.”
Whatever we call it, Bud checked….. it did just that, and he quickly turned away from the girls.
They already had begun to saddle up their ponies with plans to cool off down at the lake. Bud thought that he would certainly dry off from his “experience” with the long bike ride down there. He followed, calling to them;”What’s the matter girls, you never seen a mad Peacock?”
They looked back, giggling, with the reply; “How about YOU? What’s THAT on the front of your pants?”
Silence…………. except maybe, for the clop…..clop…clop of the ponies hooves on the loose gravel.