Said my friend Wanda, while hiking in the woods, “Have you ever had a peacock s*** on your chest from three stories up?”
“Excuse me? What?!”
As someone who often hikes the countryside alone, I had been thrilled when Wanda offered to join my friend Marlene and I one afternoon.
At last, I thought, the possibility of some scintillating conversation, witty repartee, perhaps a debate about deep issues of world-wide importance. And this is what I got? Peacock s***?
“Do tell me more, Wanda.”
“Well,” she said, “A friend of mine was showing me around her huge barn when one of her peacocks, which was sitting high in the rafters, took a dump and it splattered all over my blouse. Man, when it falls that far, it hurts like the dickens and makes a God-awful mess!”
I believed the part about the mess, but it hurt like the dickens? Just what had that bird been eating that its fecal elimination would “hurt like the dickens,” even falling from great heights?
“I see,” I responded. “How interesting.”
Wanda took my comment as encouragement to continue sharing her knowledge of poultry feces. I knew that Wanda was a country gal who used to assist in a veterinarian’s office, and was very knowledgeable about plants and animals. What I did not know was that her primary area of expertise was animal excrement.
Wanda apparently is fascinated by feces. She stopped to examine every pile we passed and launched into a lengthy discourse about its eliminator. It was impressive, even considering the subject of her discourse. I admit to being just a little intrigued.
“Hmm,” she would say as she bent low for a closer look.”Looks like a duck. Mallard, most likely. A pregnant female, I believe. She’s been subsisting on mostly corn, supplemented by a bit of algae of the cyanobacterial group. She also appears to suffer from constipation and a slight urinary tract infection.”
I suspect she was (at least in part) pulling my leg, but I didn’t have the knowledge to back that up, so I kept my mouth shut, except to ask her if she could tell if she could tell if pregnant duck’s offspring were going to be male or female. She just glared at me.
It was like hiking with the Sherlock Holmes of s***. By the end of the hike, I knew way more than I ever wanted to know about the digestive output of wildlife.
Finally, to get her off the topic, I asked about her beloved horse. That kept her talking for at least 20 minutes. Unfortunately, all she talked about was a preventative health care procedure of the horse’s reproductive system, which she said is commonly referred to as “a beanin’ and a’cleanin.’ She described the process in great detail, in spite of my, and my friend Marlene’s efforts to shut her up. I’ll spare my readers the details. I may never be able to look at a horse from the rear (or at a lima bean) again. Google it if you’re really curious and have a strong tolerance for descriptive and invasive medical procedures.
Wanda said that the vet charges several hundred dollars to perform it, so she just DOES IT HERSELF! Personally, I would pay the vet, even if I had to mortgage my house to come up with the money. If I could not, the horse may have to find a new home.
Wanda finally changed the topic of conversation and said she knew where we could find hundreds of Dutchman’s Britches. At last, here was a topic of great interest to me. After all, wherever there were Dutchman’s Britches, it would naturally follow that there might also be half-naked Dutchmen. Perhaps they were foreign exchange students or Dutch tourists who had always had an urge to experience the American backwoods while semi-nude.
“Where will we find these Dutchmen’s Britches? I asked Wanda.
“In the woods, near where the Naked Ladies bloom.”
Ah, yes, that would explain a lot. On the way there, I asked Wanda what the appropriate response would be when confronting a half-naked Dutchman in the woods. How does one say, “Whoo-hoo! Hubba, Hubba!” in the Dutch language?
What a disappointment to discover that Dutchman’s Britches are just wildflowers. Likewise the Naked Ladies. Wanda said they don’t even bloom the same time of the year. Dutchman’s Britches are early spring bloomers and Naked Ladies are late summer bloomers.
“Bloomers. Ha ha, Wanda. Just another synonym for britches, right?” Wanda is no longer amused by my comments. Go figure.
Wanda also showed us another wildflower who’s common name is Stinking Benjamin. Wanda said they got their name because they reek like rotten meat. Wanda said carrion flies are drawn by the stench and fly deep into the flower’s ovaries, which aids in pollination. I didn’t even know that flowers had ovaries. The words, “rotting meat, carrion flies, and ovaries” should not even be mentioned in the same sentence. Now I am afraid to walk through the woods for fear of ovarian-seeking carrion flies. Perhaps I should ask my ob/gyn what the treatment is for that.
Wanda had become disgusted by my irreverent comments about her knowledge of wildlife.
“Don’t you know anything about flora and fauna? ” she asked in disgust.
“Flora and Fauna?” I asked. “Aren’t they those twin girls who used to strip every Saturday night at Mitzi’s Bar and Grill out on Route 4? Maybe we should introduce them to the half-naked Dutchmen. Ha ha. Hey, Wanda! Where ‘ya going’?”
I guess she won’t be walking in the woods with me again.