The Retiree: May 28, 2014


Neighbor and I were having a congenial driveway talk the other day, when he said, “Did I tell you about the peacocks?”
“Not me,” I said, recalling his backing himself into a storage shed with his golf cart, and roaring down his hill on a disabled lawnmower. I wondered how he'd beat those stories.
“There they were, a pair, peacock and peahen, on my deck, one looking in the window, and one on the steps. I spooked them and they went across your yard, then on to the next one.”
Sure. Hansel and Gretel's house, I suppose.
“Then they went on across the next few yards until they got to Bill's place, where they went under the deck,” he said.
Bill. Wee Willie Winkie's, I thought.
“Bill called me later and asked if I could come over and bring a landing net.”
He could borrow a smelt net from Rapunzel, I figured.
“We cornered the pair under the deck, in a sheltered spot. They probably felt safe there, where nothing would bother them.”
Like the third little pig's brick house.
“Well, to make a long story short, I crawled under there with the net, and got the male trapped. He didn't like it a bit, When I crawled out, we were able to throw a sheet over him and he quieted right down, but the hen was still under there. So I had to go back in and trap her as well. Then we were able to hustle them into a cage and put it in Bills pickup.”
Cinderella's pumpkin wasn't available.
“Bill knew the place north on County 11 where they raise some odd things, and we brought the pair of them there. That guy told us the male figured out how high he could fly and it was just enough to clear the fence. There wasn't a roof on the pen. They don't fly much, but he was smart for a young bird. Once he got out, he got lonesome and went back for his girlfriend. She followed him over the fence, and they'd been on the loose for a week or two when we caught them.”
Rumpelstiltskin's house, no doubt.
It was a good story, and Neighbor kept a straight face throughout the telling of his improbable tale. But many many years ago, as a child, I got a book of Grimm's Fairy Tales. I still keep it on our bookshelf, and refer to it from time to time. Much later, after my second retirement and before my third, I worked on an assignment in Goettingen, Germany, where the Grimm brothers wrote their stories. With that comprehensive experience, I'm not easily fooled. I retained my cool, said I needed to go, and didn't laugh until I was well inside the house.