Saturday, October 22, 2011

The Lady and the Tiger (AKA, The Bird)

 By The Missionary Sister

You wouldn’t have guessed it, I suppose, from her sweet demeanor and poetic writing.

Catherine has wicked good aim with a rake.

That’s right. A rake.

You see, there is a side of her that perhaps few people see, and that is that her very composed self can let loose into total Warrior Woman. I suspect that this will serve her quite well in Papua New Guinea, helping her with the many real dangers both large and small. Indeed, you can be confident that the Lord has been equipping her since she was young to deal with many kinds of peril.

As I said, she started young. Or, should I say, we did.

We grew up on a farm, which was excellent preparation for missions work; in fact, Catherine often told me how much she was able to relate to “missionary kids” at college simply because of her rural background. As children, we felt the full force of living on a farm, with our parents expecting us to take our full share of the farm’s responsibilities, no matter the weather, the work, or the mutant animals.

Yes, mutant animals. We had a series of serious mutant animals on our farm, and the first one was also the most dangerous. You know all of those scientists who say animals used to be much larger, taller, and heavier, beyond anything we could today imagine? Do you doubt those people? I sure don’t.

Because we had one.

We had the most serious throwback of a mutant rooster you have ever seen in your entire life. I mean, my gosh, the thing was the size of a Tyrannosaurus Rex and weighed twice as much as one, too. It had the nastiest, cruelest, coldest, beadiest eyes you’ve ever seen, and they could stare right into your soul—and freeze it solid.

Do you realize it still gives me chills just LOOKING at a chicken that resembles The Bird?

They say children can speak to animals. We couldn’t with most of ours, but we sure as all get out could with this one. You know what it said to us, every time we walked within 30 feet of that chicken coop?

“I’m going to kill you.”

Yeah, no kidding. We didn’t doubt it.

It didn’t matter that Catherine and I had petted and coddled and picked up and tamed those chickens to death since the moment they arrived when they were just a few days old. We tried to make them tame, we tried to do everything by the book, we really did. But when your chicken is possessed, nothing you do helps.

You just have to fight back.

As our dearest parents had absolutely no sympathy for Catherine’s and my 8- and 10-year-old plight, they didn’t rescind the mandate that we had to gather eggs, feed, and water the chickens twice every day. Twice a day stare death in the face. Twice a day make the 20-foot Walk of Death. Twice a day descend into the lair of the demon bird.

The coop is gone, but the chicken house is still there. I still remember The Bird coming tearing around the side of that house right when I thought I was safe. Ha. He knew better. I should've, too.

Catherine and I learned very quickly we needed to give ourselves some serious tactical advantage in this war, otherwise we definitely might die a really horrible early death. And, let me tell you, we had a very strong will to live.

Therefore, in our desperation, we turned to each other, forming the best little SWAT team you’ve ever seen, armed with the best weapons we could find.


Two children. Two rakes. One rooster. It begins.

We each take a death grip on the biggest, widest, scariest-looking leaf rake we can find. Sucking in a deep breath, we look into each other’s eyes, perhaps for the last time. In case we don’t get out of this, well, it was good knowing you. Sorry it had to end this way.

Back to back, we inch into the chicken coop, carefully latching the gate behind us. If The Bird got out… well, we didn’t even want to think about the carnage that might follow.

We’re in. Inching toward the chicken house, backs pressed together, heads swiveling, we try to lock in a location on The Bird. Suddenly, I squeak in horror. There he is. Behind the tree. Looking at us, sneering at us with those murderous eyes.

I warn Catherine, and as one unit we swivel, staring at The Bird. Only 15 feet to the chicken house and to safety.

But we’re not going to make it.

And time stops.

The Bird snakes up his nasty ugly head to its full horrible dinosaur height—the wings come out—the beak opens up—and with a great shrieking squawk of sheer nightmarish fury, he attacks.

As the prehistoric monster rushes toward us, Catherine and I swing around to the ready, braced for impact—and then, rakes flailing, we launch our counterattack. He’s coming at Catherine and she hits him aside!! He wheels and makes for me and I just manage to trip him before he can fly up at my face! The battle is intense! The enemy fire is withering!! We struggle to hold our ground!!

Catherine lays in with whacks and smacks while crying out tactical orders. “He’s on your right! Take him down! Never give in!” She throws open the chicken house door and we leap in and slam it behind us.

With great haggard breaths we crumple in relief against the chicken house doors. We made it. We’re alive. And we smile.

Because we are warriors.