I stepped on to my back deck with my little Rudy Bird on my shoulder, like I do every afternoon, to gaze at the trees, take in the air, and enjoy a moment of quiet serenity before the "Hour of Chaos" begins.
Every mom knows about The Hour of Chaos: The kids spring off the school bus, friends run through the house like a horde of midget Vikings, homework is protested, the kitchen is raided, snacks are served, puppies get loose, messes get made, rough housing resumes, boo-boos are band aided, and then I have to put on my commander hat and get it all under control before the hubby gets home.
The game is for the children and I to be sitting quietly at the table, going over schoolwork or doing a craft in a very "Ozzie and Harriet" sort of way when Daddy walks in the door. Picture the Cat in the Hat, and you will then comprehend "The Hour of Chaos."
So, I'm on my deck, "zenning" on the calm before the storm, when a gust of wind whooshed, and took my Darling cocktail by surprise. Rudy has never really learned how to fly. He sometimes flaps his wings and hops about, and even occasionally glides from his perch down to the ground, but flying? No, he has never gotten the hang of THAT whole business.
The gust hit, he spread his wings for balance, and it took him aloft like a kite in a hurricane.
"Squalk SQUALK!!!" (Scientific Translation: Mommy! HELP! I'm FREAKIN OUT HERE!)
He landed, rather clumsily, I might add, way up atop my neighbors roof, looking like Wiley E. Coyote testing his new Acme Flying Kit.
I ran out the gate after him, and of course, let my puppies get loose in the process. They burst into the street. The school bus arrived, and all H#ll broke loose.
Kids are streaming off the bus, puppies and children are running amok, traffic is stopped, the bird is squalking, and I am doing my best impression of Barney Fife.
I like my neighborhood, and all my neighbors, save for one or two. But dear Rudy ended up on the worst of all possible spots. This was the house that I'm sure you remember: the one all kids know, the one with the grumpy old man who hates kids and pets, and any sort of disturbance. Its that guy who turns out all his lights on Trick or Treat night, and pretends not to be home. It was the house of Boo Radley, and it seemed, no one was home.
The children gathered with fear in their eyes. The other neighbors all came out to see what was amiss.
"Should we get a ladder?"
"What if HE comes home?"
"Oh, of all the places that bird could have gone!"
We decided to wait while the children chased the puppies. "Maybe he will fly down."
Maybe, that is, if he knew how to fly.
For two hours, we waited, as a parade of onlookers came and went. One man said "You know, I could marry a woman like you. I love the constant drama around your house."
"Uh, Thanks, happy to entertain."
No one had Boo Radly's phone number or knew how to contact him. AND NO ONE wanted to climb on the Radley Roof.
Finally, as the sun began to set, I knew that I could wait no more. So I did what any sane person would do...
I panicked and called 911!
"My bird is stuck on my neighbors roof."
"Um, This is the Sheriff Ma'am. We aren't trained for bird rescues."
"It's The Radley House."
"We'll send a squad car right away."
The Sheriff arrived, we extended the ladder, and the crowd watched with anticipation as I wobbly assended, wondering if I would succeed or end up ass-ended.
Just then, Boo Radly came out! He had been in there all along. He strode across the lawn like a rhinoceros in his bathrobe, commanding to know that was going on.
The Sheriff intervened, and soon Boo and the Sheriff are working together like Laurel and Hardey to steady the ladder and save the bird.
Amazingly and to the delight of all, our quest succeeded, the bird was saved, the puppies corralled, the children calmed, and we did it all before my hubby got home.
Boo even helped put the ladder away, bless his heart.