What feathers?

November 19, 2007

Karisma wants to hear “THAT STORY”. The one our parents, siblings, extended family or friends, would never let us forget, live down or get over!” I paid for this one over and over again. And so did my dad.

It was a day much like today. Mid-November with a touch of frost in the morning, giving way to a sunny, but cool day. But the story really begins the evening before.

purse-2.jpgPheasant season was something my dad and I looked forward to, albeit for different reasons. I wasn’t quite old enough to make the hunt, but I loved it when he got home. This night, like many others, he carried his birds to the basement to dress and clean them in the laundry tubs. First he would scald them and pluck out the feathers. Then he would get rid of the unnecessary parts and gut them. I didn’t miss a stitch, right up and to the part where he would open the crop to see what they had for breakfast. By the time he was finished, there was no sign of what had just occurred and the birds were ready for the freezer. Now that I think about it, that was amazing in itself.

My prize for standing just close enough, but not getting in the way, was some of the feathers. The tail feathers were exquisite. Long and striped. Perfect to put in a vase, tickle my mom, and tease the cat. The pin feathers on the other hand were just feathers. I never could quite figure out what to do with them, but I wanted them just the same. My dad sent me upstairs to find something to put them in and the only thing I could think of was my purse. And so I did. All of them. My dad didn’t seem to mind.

The next day my mother scrubbed me up and dressed me in a red velvet dress, white nylon ankle socks with lace around the top, and black patent leather shoes. We were going to a luncheon. It was like nothing I had seen before. Long tables covered in white linens with lots of silverware and more than enough glasses. I sat alongside my mom and tried to be interested in the conversation.

I wiggled and fidgeted and rubbed my nose, at which point my mother directed me to get my handkerchief out of my purse. I hesitated and she glared and so I opened my little black purse. And all of the feathers I had packed neatly inside the night before came pouring out on me, on my mom, and on the lady sitting next to me. They were on the table and on the floor. And every breath sent them just a little farther from reach. I knew better than to smile for I had embarrassed my mother. She showed herself to be the lady that she was. Not one word was spoken as we struggled to clean up my mess. Finally some gentlemen came to our rescue and things returned to a calmness of sorts.

feather.jpgEvery once in awhile one of my mom’s friends would remind me of my mother’s surprise on that day. It became great fodder for family yarns. You’d think I would have been banished from my dad’s side as he cleaned the pheasants, or at the least forbidden to keep the feathers. But what we did was find a “more suitable” place to put them. Although it was a long, long time before my mother let me take a purse anywhere. And when she did, I had to open it for her first.


23 Responses to “What feathers?”

  1. corky Says:

    My father was a little bit rougher in remeinding me about some of my finer moments from when I was younger. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    I really enjoyed this tale. This time of the year is the best!

  2. Hootin' Anni Says:

    This is such a sweet, sweet memory!!!!

  3. Hilary Says:

    Great story.. I could easily imagine the feathers wisping around the table.

  4. Kaycie Says:

    My grandfather raised pheasants when I was little. I always scoured the ground around their pen for those beautiful tail feathers. Sweet story. Your writing is very lyrical.

  5. Tiggerlane Says:

    That is just the cutest story! I’m sure you embarrassed your mother as much as Rose did, when she tried to light a cigarette during dinner on the Titanic!

  6. Oh my goodness, this is a wonderful story! I can just picture how innocent you were and yet you still managed to embarrass your mother. I love that she didn’t say anything bad while cleaning up all those feathers.

  7. Susan Says:

    LOL This is sooo funny and sooo sweet! I love the beautiful fairy princess picture of you as well.

  8. That’s such a great memory. I can imagine your mother, all prim and proper. Mine would’ve howled in laughter.

  9. Robocop Says:

    You invented the feather bomb. Good job!

  10. tod Says:

    Great story! And so funny that your mother insisted on looking in your purse!

  11. daddy d Says:

    Great story. There are several layers of family interaction in that story. Daughter and dad. Mom and Daughter. And of course, dad and mom. Checking the purse was the right course of action.

  12. Willowtree Says:

    Ha ha ha! That would have been funny to see! So, you’re not a pheasant plucker’s son, you’re a pheasant plucker’s daughter.

  13. Nessa Says:

    This was such a great story. Very sweet.

  14. Tink Says:

    Great story! I was an avid collector of feathers too…

    Until my Mom scared me with stories of the diseases on them. I think she was just sick of cleaning them up. ๐Ÿ™‚

  15. robinellablog Says:

    Told so well. I felt like I was sitting right beside you and puffing feathers with my breath. Cutie photo too.

  16. gawilli Says:

    Corky – I agree. This really is the best time of year. And those were good times, too.

    Hootin’ Annie – Much sweeter now than then!

    Hillary – There were sure a lot of feathers packed in that little black purse. They didn’t fit back in quite as well as they did the first time.

    Kaycie – Thanks! I probably would have been chasing the pheasants!

    Tiggerlane and Sauntering Soul – I think she was probably devastated, but didn’t show it. She was a class act. I was not.

    Susan – I think that was from a ballet show. She tried her best to make a little lady out of me, but I fear my dad won out.

    Anglophile Football Fanatic – These sure wasn’t much laughing going on that afternoon. But we laughed a lot about it later on.

    Robocop – Feather bomb! I guess your right. It sure was a bomb.

    Tod – That got to be quite bothersome. I really didn’t see much use for purses, except my mother thought that was where the handkerchief belonged. That and gloves. Ugh.

  17. gawilli Says:

    Daddy D – I missed the dad – mom interaction. Wish I could have heard that one. Then again, maybe not!

    WT – I guess that was what I was. I’m sure there is some meaning there, but it went right past me. As usual. Guess I better go over and Google it. Again.

    Thanks Nessa!

    Tink – I was thinking about that when I wrote this. Probably today that would be greatly frowned upon.

    Robinella Blog – I had a mouth full, too!

  18. Sandy Says:

    and from your mother you learned graciousness! Very sweet story.

  19. gawilli Says:

    Hey, WT! I found it. Ha Ha Ha!

    I’m not the pheasant plucker,
    I’m the pheasant plucker’s mate,
    And I’m only plucking pheasants
    ’cause the pheasant plucker’s late.

    I’m not the pheasant plucker,
    I’m the pheasant plucker’s son,
    And I’m only plucking pheasants
    till the pheasant pluckers come.

  20. gawilli Says:

    Sandy – Thank you! Grace is a good thing.

  21. Karmyn R Says:

    hee hee – very funny! I can just picture those feathers everywhere.

  22. mjd Says:

    Look at you, you were a little princess. It makes sense to me to put your treasures in your purse. I guess that your mother did not think that the feathers were special treasures.

  23. debi Says:

    I always love it when you share one of your childhood memories with us. What a beautiful little girl you were.

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