Tuesday, April 10, 2012

A Bird's Feast

We started an Easter tradition this year. It was the second annual Odland/Zieffle long weekend hangout. It involved a little outdoor adventure, some sore muscles for the days following, and not only an overdose of chocolate, but also of great food. It involved visiting with Great-Aunts and Second Cousins, some inline and ball, and of course, each and every time we get together with family -without fail- we always reminisce over childhood stories, from mine, and my Mother's to my Grandmother's. There's the ones that always repeat themselves, as they're just too good not to be retold. And somehow, there is still new ones that I've never heard.

This trip we loved the story of Grandpa Joe eating cookies and Cheetos for breakfast... only this one was not as a child; it was merely a few weeks ago as an 85 year old man.

This is one of my favourite childhood stories, dramatized, for a lit assignment:


A Bird’s Feast

By day five, we couldn’t stand each other. By day six, every last inch of our patience and respect had worn dry. That was when my brothers, Derek and Blake tortured me to tears. They pleaded after that it was all in good fun, but I would beg to differ. It’s been five years since then, and I often laugh about the situation, but the actual intention behind their plan still makes me cringe in agony.

Let me start by reciting the lines that my older sibling and I had been chanting to the baby child for the entire day, which might give an explanation for the motive behind his evil scheme. “Chubby short and stubby fingers”, we called him, and laughed at the plumpness of his hands. I’ll admit; that was a little mean. We stopped after noticing that he was on the verge of tears, likely because we didn’t think Mom and Dad would be too impressed with us if he came running to them, crying.

So the three of us sauntered down the sun-stricken pavement in bare feet, sand toys and skim boards in hand; headed to the beach. I couldn’t wait to ease into the fresh waters of Lake Skaha after a tough day at hockey camp. My hair was a nightmare, resembling a Norwegian rat’s nest, and my entire body smelled like that of a teenage boy who has failed to shower in weeks. After a peaceful swim to the dock and back, alone, I was feeling refreshed and better prepared to face the brothers again.

The sun was slowly creeping behind the vineyards situated on the Penticton foothills. It was hardly hot enough to bask on my towel and let the sunshine’s ultra-violet rays dry up my drenched body. Instead, I rubbed my nippy skin with a flower-patterned beach towel until all the little droplets of lake water had been soaked up. It was just as I was about to get back into my clothes that my brothers made the suggestion. How about we dig wide, deep holes large enough for Blake and myself to kneel in, and then fill them up so that we’re just heads popping out of the sand? Sounded like fun to me! Finally, my brothers and I were going to get along.

Shovel by shovel, we scooped out heaps of sand, until in front of us sat two of the largest sand holes I’d ever seen. The boys convinced me to climb in first. I was keen; all I

could think about was how awesome of a picture this would make. Blake climbed into his hole next to me, and we shared a laugh about how cool the sand was against our delicate skin. Soon enough, Derek was using a sweeping motion with his forearm and the mound of beige coloured sand to fill me in, right up to the neck. With every batch of sand, my movements were getting increasingly restricted. The minuscule grains of sand were becoming itchy and slightly uncomfortable. I was still in good spirits at this point.

And I kept a smile on my face for a while; until the beach around me was entirely even, the hole completely filled in. I was waiting for Derek to repeat the process he had just done, so that Blake too would be a head without a body. I was sadly mistaken. Instead of reaching for that mound of sand, he reached his arm down to lend Blake a hand, ascending him from his hole. Together, they filled the hole in, claiming they selflessly didn’t want anyone to trip and hurt themselves. Their next move was not getting down on their hands and knees to help me out of the trap; but rather sticking their hand in a bag of Wonderbread hotdog buns, cruelly ripping off little pieces, and then using the palms of their hands to crumble the bread into crumbs directly over top of my head. They wished a happy feast to the birds and were off.

By this point I was a little frustrated; not yet completely outraged. I watched the two little devils slowly pace away from my helpless body. Between every few strides they’d look back at me with that ‘yeah, we just did’ kind of an expression. With every meter I watched them distance off down the beach, I became more and more agitated. My tipping point was when a big ugly black bird came prodding at the bread crumbs on my head. I hate birds. I have an indescribable fear of those creatures with sharp claws and who make unattractive noises during the wee hours of the morning. Now I was furious.

The sun was barely in sight anymore, and most people had parted from the beach for the night. The only people around were some beach volleyball players who would not have been observant enough to notice a head floating in the sand. I was ever so relieved, when I could see a nice looking couple walking in my direction. I was going to be helped! They glanced over at my head, shared a giggle, and continued on their way. As tears streamed from the corner of my eyes, down the rivets on either side of my nose, I didn’t even have the ability to wipe them away.


P.S. An Asia trip 2012 blog post is still coming! Stay posted.