May 27, 2017

chapter 4


A Fox once saw a Crow fly off with a piece of cheese in its beak and settle on a branch of a tree. “That’s for me, as I am a Fox,” and he walked up to the foot of the tree. “Good day, Mistress Crow,” he cried. “How well you are looking today: how glossy your feathers; how bright your eye. I feel sure your voice must surpass that of other birds, just as your figure does; let me hear but one song from you that I may greet you as the Queen of Birds.” The Crow lifted up her head and began to caw her best, but the moment she opened her mouth the piece of cheese fell to the ground, only to be snapped up by Master Fox. “That will do,” said he. “That was all I wanted. In exchange for your cheese I will give you a piece of advice for the future: “Do not trust flatterers (Aesop, from Aesop’s Fables)

Thinking about that old fable brings another old saying to mind. Have you ever heard the one which asserts that; ” flattery gets you no-where?” Some people swear by it; however, I cannot confirm nor deny the veracity of the claim. I would think that it would depend upon the whereabouts of where and no-where. Speaking of the whereabouts of things; once, when I was two, I had everyone concerned for MY “whereabouts”.

It’s already been asserted and subsequently stipulated that I was smart and cute at two years of age, but thanks to my Mom, I was also, “as sharp as a rat turd” [Another of Gramp’s sayings]. In those days, I could usually be seen sporting blue coveralls or red pants, a red or navy turtleneck, a blue corduroy jacket, a red cap, and highly shined white high shoes. Serendipitously, one of the aforementioned outfits would serve as camouflage for my next caper.

One sunny Saturday morning, while playing in Gramp’s front yard, the blossom laden rose bush—which grew just East of Eden—gave me a fiendish idea. “I’ll hide under that rose bush. That should give Mom and Gramp quite a start”, dripped the diabolical thought from within my impish mind.

The rose bush adorning Gramp’s “side yard” seemed colossal to my youthful eyes. The stems, burdened by the weight of dew-soaked roses,  bowed towards the earth in reluctant deference to master gravity’s eternal encumbrance. The hunched stems formed a virtual rose bush bungalow with the main stem as its center pole. To me, it appeared the perfect hiding place. So, stealthily, while no one was looking, I crept towards the bush and ever so carefully—avoiding the bush’s thorny prick—I parted the hanging stems and entered.

When the Moms looked up again, I was gone. They panicked! They searched the house and the yard; ceaselessly calling my name. “Ronnie!”, yelled Gramp!  “Ronnie!”, called my Mom! But I had vanished from their world and entered another. “They will never find me here”, I giggled.

Inside Rose Bush World, there were aliens! I sat there, spellbound, as the creatures grazed on the leaves, stems, and roses. Their six spindly legs bandied them about. Their bodies were green, red, orange, yellow and blue. However, regardless of bodily hue, the legs were black. As was my habit, I started to count them. In those days, I counted everything [I still do]. However, in the case of these aliens, there were more of them than I had numbers in my repertoire. So, I decided to count the red ones only. Then, I counted only the green ones. Those two colors were the most numerous. The orange, yellow, and blues, were ones and twos; easy-peasy!

Slowly, my eyes adjusted to the darkness beneath the bush. As the rest of the secret world came into focus, I could see that the aliens were not alone. They appeared to have masters. Indeed, they were subjugated, for they did not go to-and-fro at will. They were being herded and tended to by ANTS! But, they didn’t seem to mind their  apparent condition. As a matter-of-fact, they rather seemed to enjoy the attention, for whenever the ants stroked them with their antennae, a golden-yellow liquid exuded from their butt holes! A liquor which, to my utter amazement, the ants greedily gobbled up. One could almost imagine them licking their tiny ant lips; savoring every molecule of the golden nectar’s goodness.

Well, as I gazed onto this other-worldly saga—in a state of mild shock, I might add—an oval bodied, orange creature with black dots leaped out from behind one of the leaves and savagely devoured several of the aliens. The ant master of the devoured aliens appeared momentarily disoriented; spinning in circles with antennae wagging. I presumed it was “looking” for its charges. Not finding them, of course, it turned and headed back down the stem alone. “Humph, not a very good shepherd”, I thought smugly.

Satiated, the beetle opened the spotted casing on its back. The hard shell separated down it’s center. The two halves glided apart, as if on greased hinges. When the shell had fully opened, large gossamer wings unfurled and flapped, lifting the bug into the morning air. It seemed about to get away with the carnage it had inflicted upon the poor, defenseless alien population when suddenly, vengeance, in the form of a large, shiny, black crow, hurled down from the nearby Elderberry bush—like a streak of black lightening—and snapped the spotted mass-murderer out of mid-air with its sharp yellow beak. It tilted its head in mid-flight; then, looking directly at me with one sparkling black eye, it appeared to wink, and was gone.

Finally, one of the Moms spied something very small and red under the rose bush! “Ronnie, what are you doing under there?” They were so relieved that I was safe. Mom says I had the biggest smile on my face and she believes that was my very first trick as a trickster, born under the sign of the crow!

MORAL: To a mother, “Two Crows in the bush are NOT worth one in the hand.”


Ron and Ron’s Mom


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