Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Funny (10/04/12)
TITLE: Walking Along Singing a Song
By Marlene Bonney
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Cotton candy clouds shaped into cartoon characters, wisps sometimes trailing behind like baby ducklings trying to catch up to their mother . . . Two black and white puppies wrestling, fluffy dust-balls rolling over the grass . . . A rose bush that refused to climb its trellis, the vines wrapping themselves around a house downspout like an old barbershop pole.
One morning, my attention was drawn to a backyard by such a strident scream, I was sure a damsel needed rescuing, only to find a brazen guinea hen lodged on a tree limb, its raucous cries startling this city dweller’s ears. A newspaper article reported a farmer’s pick-up truck had upended, spilling its cargo of guinea hens; like so many escaped convicts, they had fled for their lives.
Cobwebs always amaze me, their spun intricate lines and designs works of art worthy of a county fair’s judging. I laughed out loud at one I almost sped through, seven trapped flies arranged into a frown face—one each for the eyes and nose and the remaining four curved below in a perfect concave arc.
Walking in winter in the bitter cold took determined motivation, but braving the elements for the resulting blood rush was worth it. One such afternoon, I noticed a brown mound of something in the otherwise, undisturbed, blanket of pure white snow covering a garden. No footprints were anywhere in sight, except for my own. I drew closer and stopped dead in my tracks, laughing at the sight before me. The furry squirrel tail was sticking up out of the snow in the frigid, still air like a truce flag. The little fellow had apparently dropped from the tree’s hollow above and was content to remain there upside down. Having sensed a human’s approach, however, Mr. Squirrel popped out of his burrow and scampered back up the tree trunk into his hole.
In the spring on yet again another walk, there was a rare sighting of a hummingbird; not seeking sweet nectar from the nearby flowers, but sampling a drink from a dripping water faucet, its rapid-firing wings occasionally creating a wet spray to shower the roses below.
Summer brought high temperatures and sultry air, my walks peppered with manifold displays of full-blooming flowers, their perfume gracing the atmosphere. One day I rounded a corner and ran smack dab into a bird fight! A bevy of sparrows hopping around on the soft grass bordering the steamy pavement were also flitting around and splashing in a yard’s birdbath. Two industrious members of their group were having a regular tug-of-war with a discarded kite string. The littlest one was flying a couple of feet into the air, but the larger bird inherently knew his deadweight stubbornly planted on the ground would win the day. The baby sparrow got tired of their game and flew off while the remaining bird gobbled up a mouthful of the string and soared high up in the nearest tree, the rest of the rope trailing behind him like a spent yo-yo.
I especially liked walking in the crisp autumn leaves scattered willy-nilly beneath my feet, the unique crunching sound of skipping leaves along a sidewalk impossible to compare to any other noise. One such Fall morning, I was passing a driveway when I was startled out of my reverie by a loud crash that scared the heebeegeebees out of me. A pair of wrestling squirrels had fallen from an overhanging tree branch, crashing onto the roof of a parked car, their full body weight, tree limb and all landing in a confused jumble. It was incredible to see the corpses rise up and scuttle away afterwards. I bet the car owner would never believe what caused the remaining dent.
The coup de grace was watching a family of calico kittens playing with a ball of yarn, darting around with uncanny moves as they chased, batted, and pounced around their plaything, a little boy and girl laughing together as they yanked the yarn around just out of the kittens’ reach from one end of their yard to the other, only to end up in a tangled heap themselves.
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