Thursday, July 5, 2012

Cardinal sin - R.I.P Woody

This summer we've had the most beautiful family of red birds hanging out with us at the cabin. The hubs says they are Cardinals. They started building a nest between our two buildings, and it was really refreshing to have a streak of red flying back and forth across the constant yellow-green cedar backdrop. 

That was until the streak of red splattered hard against the cabin window. 

After witnessing the tragedy, Daddy - at macabre Mommy's bidding - went out to photograph the corpse, just in case I wanted to blog about it... 

I followed hot on the hub's heels to help, and found him - much to my horror - snapping pics at a convulsing corpse.

"It's not dead!" I choked at the hubs, who hadn't seemed to notice the bird's plight. The wretched creature was either shaking in absolute terror, or was well on his way to a traumatic seizure-filled finale. 

Believing it to be the latter, Daddy - ever the humane hubs - was quick to offer to snap the little blighters neck.  "No!" I cried in disbelief at Daddy's onerous offer. Geez Daddy! At least let's give our feathered friend a fighting chance! It would have been a cardinal sin to end-off a possibly healthy bird. 

We placed some water near it and retreated inside to wait and see if the beautiful red creature could pull himself together. I glanced through the window a time or two and saw the shaking had stopped - and not because he'd choked it. 

After maybe the third check, we saw he'd moved a foot or two from his 'deathbed', but sadly his wing looked to be a little bent out of shape. Perhaps it would have been kinder to let Daddy stomp on him after all. 

We gave our patient a little more space - hoping he'd miraculously heal himself - while we kicked-off the kids bedtime routine. 

About twenty minutes later, the kids bounded after us onto the deck - all scrubbed and pajama clad - to visit with our patient. Dusk was upon us, and although it was light enough to still see, our vibrant red bird had seemingly vanished into thin air.

Had he flown away? I looked from the place where he'd originally fallen to where I'd seen him recuperating last, and in wide eyed panic I lunged to the edge of the deck to look down into the dog pen.

Uh oh, how incredibly obtuse were we? My horrified mind's eye had already reenacted the gruesome fate of the beaten bird. It would definitely have been kinder to let Daddy do the deed. 

Daddy was a little more skeptical, after all there was no evidence of fowl play in the pen, nor were there any feathers suspiciously sticking out of the dogs' mouths - much to a mortified Mommy's relief.

After scanning the ground we eventually spied a smudge of red bobbing around, safely on the opposite side of the fencing to where the dogs were on patrol. Thank God for that! 

We didn't recapture the red bird. We decided it was time to let nature run it's course. OK, so the chances were - without a wing or a prayer - some other opportunistic critter would be fine dining that night, but at least it wouldn't be our dogs dishing out the death sentence...

Distracted by the plight of the Cardinal, little did we realize that our youngest was dishing out a dastardly death sentence all of his own......  

Since our 'clever' placement of the doggy run - directly underneath the front decking - it's been inevitable that eventually one day, our little boys' passion of posting would all end in tears.

For months, the big attraction for the boys has been posting sand toys and chalk through the side railing - lost for immediate play but not forever. Only recently has our littlest's mischievous streak had him testing the fate of his snack and toys up front.

He'll stare down at his sacrificial cracker or trinket with his face pressed up against the gridding waiting to see if the dogs claim their prize. Mom and Dad are quick to rescue any treasured toys from a teethy end, but watching his folks retrieve his castaways has him squealing in delight at the drama all of his own doing. 

Of course he's eager for a rerun, so our only defense is to ensure all deck toys are too large to fit through the hog wire. But in spite of our vigilance - a toy tractor or two has managed to slip through the net. Fortunately these tiny metal tractors are somewhat indestructible and, after acquiring a bargain basket load from a garage sale last summer, the kids have too many for me to panic over their loss. 

I guess it was bound to happen eventually - a toy tragedy worse than you can possibly imagine.....      

Sadly that same night of the cardinal's plight, after darkness fell upon cowboy territory and we'd all turned in hoping for a miracle for our doomed friend with the broken wing, 
unbeknownst to us the dogs started their teethy torture on a most treasured friend.

The next morning Daddy and the boys went down to feed the dogs breakfast, not really expecting to see any remains of the cardinal. Any would be predator would likely have licked his plate clean.
Instead, the brutal remains of our well loved Woody marionette lay scattered around the dog run.

Woody's remains. Last seen fully intact in
there's a snake in my boot! 
Tossed down by a mischievous toddler (who couldn't have fully realized the repercussions of his act) in the midst of our cardinal capers, our poor Pixar pal had been half eaten to death. 

Daddy was disturbed by the discovery, so it was a sure bet that both boys were somewhat saddened - and a little confused - by the sight of poor Woody's body ripped into several pieces and scattered around the dog kennel.          

The boys helped 'round-up' Woody's remains and brought them inside for Mommy to work her magic, but tragically there was nothing to be done for the chewed-up old cowboy. Beyond repair, he has been shelved for now.

If he does happen to spring to life when we're not looking at him, he'll have a hard time getting anyplace without his legs.... 

I've thought about throwing him away, but after watching Toy Story 2 umpteen times with our two little boys, I can't bring myself to do it. 

We played the movie again later that morning and our eldest (the almost three year old) was overjoyed to see his buddy alive and kicking with all his limbs reattached.

He's not asked for his Woody doll since. Out of sight out of mind I guess, unless of course he remembers all too well and doesn't want to go there - I wouldn't blame him.

I suggested to the hubs that we could do a burial - and I was only half joking. Admittedly, that's probably a bit morbid for our babies to witness. I'm not sure they're ready for their first funeral (just yet).

They wouldn't have to witness it though, then it would just be us mad-hatter parents performing the rites - perhaps not so crazy given we were both almost moved to tears by the sight of Woody's remains... 

But what if he's not dead? I mean, just because he's been ripped limb from limb doesn't mean he's actually popped his cowboy does it? The bleeding to death rules surely don't apply with toys, no matter how anthropomorphic they may be..  Perish the thought - our boys' beloved cowboy hero should have to live out eternity in a shallow grave! 

WTF?! When us 'grown-ups' (debatable, I know)  are starting to believe in the reality of Woody's 'reality', either Pixar must be doing something ridiculously right - or something is worryingly wrong.... 

There's every chance Buzz - yes we have the space ranger also - and our Little People collection could be plotting their friend's rescue mission right now - I hope for Woody's sake they are. Just in case, he'll be waiting on the shelf indefinitely....

Is it just me? Surely some of you would balk at the idea of binning the little fella too? What would you do if it were your toddler's treasured toy hero; shelve him... bury him.... junk him.... or something else?


  1. make a woody collage. spray paint the whole thing all over with bronze metallic paint - a bronzed homage to woody.

    then immediately donate it to the thrift store so you don't have to store it for eternity! and someone else will cherish it for you ;-)

    1. I like it! - wait, isn't that what Jabba the Hut did to Han Solo?