Sunday, March 14, 2010

Forevermore. A Love Story.

A few years ago our family (including my visiting niece) was driving back home from a basketball game when we saw a very peculiar sight. It was a young crow, walking in the crosswalk of the busy street. My first impulse was to shield Evan's eyes since I was fairly sure the crow was going to get creamed right there are the street. Instead, the crow went to the corner, turned and when the light changed, proceeded to walk in yet another crosswalk to get to the other side of the street. It was fascinating to watch, but it was obvious that one wing of the crow was damaged and he was in pretty bad shape.

Now HOB (Husband of Betty) loves birds and in particular, crows, so he pulled over, grabbed the bird and brought him into the car. He was convinced that the other crows would kill the injured crow and he would be safer with us. We took him home, found a cage for him and put him in the back office, away from our very curious cats. We spent a lot of time trying to get him to eat, giving him water and calling bird rescue places in hopes of giving this crow a second chance.

We named him Edgar Allen Crow.

Now, I don't know if you've ever been close-up and personal with a crow, but they are beautiful beyond belief and regal and incredibly intelligent. I liked just hanging out in the back room with him, watching him. I turned on the TV for him during the day when I had to be at work. I chose Food Network, thinking it might spark his nearly non-existent appetite, but soon discovered the alarming number of poultry recipes demonstrated there in living color, bird bodies splayed out on a bed of potatoes and rosemary every half hour or so. I switched to the Home and Garden network and he seemed to be happier watching humans decorate their nests. At night we watched American Idol together, totally agreeing on which contestants should be thrown off

It had been about two weeks. HOB was working on getting Edgar to eat, and we still had calls in the bird people in the area. I really thought Edgar was going to make it, but alas, one day, I went in to find him dead in his cage.

I took it harder than I thought I would. I went in and told HOB about it. He was sad too, but thank goodness had no problem carrying out the body.

About a week later, I was late for work and digging around in the deep freeze out in the garage in search of a frozen burrito to take for lunch. I came across what seemed to be a bunch of white plastic grocery bags. The kids often left bags in the freezer and it drove me crazy. I picked it up and realized there was something inside.

Inside the white bags was a Zip-Lock Freezer Bag.

Inside that bag was Edgar Allen Crow.

I slammed down the lid of the freezer and picked up the phone.

In my phone call to HOB I explained to him in a very terse voice that there were certain things one should tell one' s spouse and high on that list is when one places the body of a dead crow in the deep freeze.

HOB said he would explain when he got home.

Now, living with HOB is a very interesting experience. He tends to surprise me on a regular basis. It seems he had been talking to a Native American friend in Arizona and had been convinced by his friend that it was essential that Edgar be disposed of in an official Native American ceremony in Arizona.

I sat HOB down and broke it to him that he was a white man from Kansas and was in no way Native American, that Edgar was just an injured crow who needed to be disposed of in any way possible, including, I mentioned, the convenient trash bin we had sitting outside our house. HOB was unmoved. He was merely freezing Edgar until he could take him to Arizona.

"And just how do you intend to get him to Arizona?" I asked, in a high-pitched, strained voice. "I'll just take him in my carry-on luggage," he said. I could just see the lady at the x-ray scanner calling security. "I really don't think you can do that," I said. "Maybe I'll just mail him," he said. Uh, no, I tried to tell him. That was only going to get things added to his file that the government was, no doubt, already keeping on him.

I decided to give it some time and hope he came to his senses. However, there was the matter of the frozen crow in the freezer.

"There is no way am opening that freezer (aka 'The Crow Coffin') for anything," I said. HOB agreed he would handle it. So, when I needed a frozen pizza, he moved the dead crow and got the pizza. When I needed a bag of ice, he dug deep under Edgar and got it for me. I found I needed quite a few things from the freezer on a weekly basis. HOB got tired of getting things for me. One night I asked him to please go and look for some fudge bars in the freezer. "I'm really hungry for a fudge bar," I said, smiling and pointing to the general direction of the freezer. He looked at me and said, "Oh, now you're just pulling the Crow Card."

One night when I was hosting my book club, HOB overhead our conversation that generally had to do with the metaphysical and the afterlife. That's when he offered to show the ladies the frozen crow in the freezer.

I couldn't take it anymore. I had been the patient, cool, and understanding wife, but I told him he had to get Edgar out of the freezer and deal with the situation. He called his friend in Arizona and talked for some time. The next morning I heard him digging in the back yard and saw him with the bags. Thank goodness, I thought.

At least three months passed. I was happily getting things out of the freezer again and life had returned to normal.

Then, one day I was in HOB's home office and was looking for some papers when I saw an unusual box. I opened it.

Edgar's wing.

That's right. Apparently HOB's Native American friend had given him instruction to save just the wing for eventual ritual burial.

Now, I love the man, but loving a man and understanding a man are two different things.

I've decided just to go with the former and if the latter happens someday, well, that would just be a bonus.

As far as I know the wing is still in HOB's office. I don't ask about it anymore. I've learned that in every relationship there will be the metaphorical dead crow in the freezer from time to time. It's surprising, it's unnerving, but you learn you can deal with it. You learn you can be flexible.

You learn that sometimes love gives you wings, just not in the way you ever expected it to.


Ann said...

I would have completely freaked out if I had found Edgar in the freezer. What a great story.

Lindy said...

Poor Edgar. Sorry he didn't make it. I would not have liked that freezer surprise, either.

citymouse said...

If our husbands were normal we wouldn't have anything to blog about, would we?? hehee

I would have had kittens right then and there if I found a dead crow in the deep freeze... kudos to you for being so understanding.

I love the crow's name. I am a huge fan of Guggenheim Grotto and one of their songs, "The Wonderful Wizard" has that in it's lyrics:
"Your Edgar Allen crow is the very bird that holds me together".

fraizerbaz said...

I think I recall reading some time ago that some Native Americans believe that seeing a crow (or an owl) means something significant. Sorry, I can't remember what it was specifically, though.
Anyway, poor little Edgar!

BNM said...

You are a great writer! I could picture everything you were talking about! I would have been a little uneasy to have a dead crow in the freezer though! .. Love the name you gave the crow too!

Anonymous said...

Now that's love. Couldn't you have worked out a way to get him to cook, too?

liz said...

This is loving, tender, sad and hysterical all at the same time. You're a good wife to your HOB.

Pat Tillett said...

That was a beautiful story. Sounds like you have a keeper there...

Trevor said...

I think your husband is just crazy Betty!

LittleSilkDress said...

Edgar Allen Crow. Love, love, LOVE the name! Also very glad you talked HOB out of taking Edgar Allen Crow in his carry on.

Alissa Grosso said...

I'm sorry Edgar didn't make it. I love crows. I agree, they are beautiful birds.

That said, I have my own dead crow story. I was at work in the office of a historical village when one of our maintenance guys came in with a dead crow in a zip-loc bag. He had found the crow dead outside and thought we should have it tested for West Nile virus (this was back when everyone in NJ was panicking about the virus.) It happened to be late on a Friday afternoon and everyone at animal control was about to go home for the weekend so they told us to keep it in the fridge until Monday. The maintenance guy suggested I label the bag even though it was clear so I wrote "DEAD CROW" on the bag. A few minutes later we heard a shriek from the kitchen. Our secretary had gone in to get a snack and came out in a panic. "There's a dead crow in the refrigerator!" she cried. For some reason our computer consultant who was there couldn't stop laughing. said...

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Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry...I have an admixture of emotions after reading this. Following that crow and picking him up to heal was a beautiful thing to do. Both of you have an apparent love of animals, and I think that's great. I was sad to hear that the crow didn't make it. I was appaled to hear that HOB stored him in your freezer; that would have totally freaked me out. But the burial thing? Sorry, I can sort of understand it...Moral? My opinion? Don't pick up any more ailing birds...

Lazy Pineapple said...

Finding a dead crow in the freezer is one Freaky experience. Your hubby seems to be really attached to edgar....but thank god he buried the crow...

Men and their idiosyncrasies.

Joann Mannix said...

What a lovely story.

Thanks for stopping by my blog.

I love this line, "I've learned in every relationship there will be the metaphorical dead crow in the freezer from time to time." Only a woman married with the wisdom of many years can say that.

Your husband sounds like a caring soul. Edgar's spirit will find rest in the native burial grounds someday because your husband cared enough to stuff him in the freezer.

Just such a wonderful tale.

Shan said...

Too bad the bird people weren't more help. My son and his friend found a baby morning dove. Within two hours we were at a bird sanctuary/a-mazing home. That guy specialized in birds of prey, but he knew a woman and agreed to send our baby on over.

Jami said... son has kept a dead baby snake in my deep freeze for 2 years now! I am wondering if it has been long enough that we can :lose" the snake yet. :)