A CHRISTMAS MEMORY

Polish5.jpg

Okay, the title may be slightly misleading. This isn’t a memory about Christmas. But it is a memory, and this is Christmas.

Sadly, because my phone was out of power I cannot document the most bizarre episode of 2014 to date. Hence this picture glommed from the internet. What happened is this:

Mrs H and I were headed to an early Sunday evening dinner at a bistro called Martell in Southport. Just to get you oriented, Jack Welch lives in Southport. To provide further context, I parked my 2009 Prius with the permadent next to a Ferrari. It was not the only one in the lot.

As we were approaching a Tesla Mrs H cried out, "My God, what is in the back of that car?" I approached cautiously. There appeared to be a dozen little white puffy balls bouncing in the air in the back seat. I wondered whether there was some kind of weird airblown toy that had been left on by mistake, or whether there were a bunch of white pawed puppies rolling on their backs.

I got to the window. For a moment, nothing made sense. I couldn't process what I saw. Then my eye lighted on the water bowl and the feed. And then the beaks. "Jesus Christ," I said. "It's birds! It's a dozen fucking giant birds! In the back of a fucking Tesla!" Somehow, it being a Tesla made it all worse.

Did I mention Mrs H hates birds? And that she's just coming back from a flu? That probably explains why she bolted for the restaurant door.

It gets better. We got seated almost immediately. Hey, early bird special. So to speak. But as we're headed to our table I see this other couple. The lady had her back to me. She's wearing a fleece on which is crudely embroidered a representation of the same bird I'd just seen. Mrs H sees where I'm looking and says, "Oh please. No. You can't."

"I have to," I say. She takes her seat and buries her face in her hands as I approach the lady in the bird fleece.

"Excuse me," I say, "do you own a Tesla?"

"Yes," says the man with her. "How did you know it was ours?"

I resist the temptation to tell him that it's because it's full of the same birds your lady is wearing you hopeless whack. Instead I offer the slightly toned down "I happened to see the birds in the back and noticed your shirt. What kind of birds are they, may I ask?"

"Polish crested chickens," she says. "Show birds."

"Oh," I said. "They're lovely."

I get back to the table. "Chickens," I say. "Polish chickens." She is greenish white. She rolls her eyes to the adjoining table. One of our fellow diners is digging into the chicken Reisling. "That's what I was going to have," she says. "But now I think maybe steak. Unless you saw a cow in the parking lot?"

Every. Last. Word. True.