Thursday, April 03, 2008

In which I discover that Jethro is becoming infamous; also, I need advice.

Every week before Yiddish class on Thursday evenings I stop in at Taqueria Lopez, over in Durham, for a taco and a diet coke.

I do my last-minute Yiddish homework there, which makes for fairly drastic cognitive dissonance, Univision blaring in the corner and all; often I'm tongue-tied when the staff and owner talk to me, which they do because the place is not busy at that hour and I seem to amuse them.

So anyway, I had my head buried in my dictionary, trying to figure out how to translate "marrowbones" into Yiddish, when I gradually notice a guy is standing by my table talking to me. Something jolted in my head (it sort of feels changing the channel) and I realized he was asking, "Aren't you the lady with the donkey?"

This taqueria is nowhere near my house so I was astonished, and so were the manager and waitress standing behind the counter. The guy explained to them, he works in my neighborhood and sees me walking the burro all the time. They stared at me with expressions halfway between grinning and eye-rolling. All I could think of to say was: my donkey is not well-behaved and he needs a lot of walking. Everything else I could think of at the moment was in Yiddish.

The guy introduced himself to me and asked, don't I know that lady on the corner down the road from me, the one he works for, but unfortunately I don't know her, so the conversation didn't go anywhere. He stood there a bit longer and then went off to sit by himself and I went back to my homework. Now I feel bad I didn't invite him to sit with me.

And now for the advice. In early May I'm going to visit Zed at college, he wants me to hear him wail on his baritone horn in the last klezmer concert of the year. That means I need a donkey sitter to feed Jethro, morning and night, for a few days.

I had quite a few volunteers last time I went out of town, but the woman who did the job complained, gently but bitterly, that Valentino, the rooster nobody likes, attacked her every time she came with the hay.

As I've mentioned before, Valentino considers Jethro to be part of his flock and defends him (Jethro) vigorously against all outsiders.

Valentino doesn't hassle me much because when he does I pick him up and stroke him and coo sweet nothings into his ear, sometimes I even rock him in the rocking chair and remind him I knew him when he was an egg; it really embarrasses him. But anybody else shows up, he makes his neck feathers stand up like some Dr. Seuss bird and jumps up and down and strikes at the intruder with his pointy little beak.

Short of putting him in a stew pot, how can I solve this problem: he won't let anybody but me feed the donkey?

Thanks for any suggestions, sensible or otherwise.

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At 5:59 AM, Anonymous Bob said...

Just keep an old broom handy to ward off attacks. He will defend the "group", which is a vote to keep him out of the pot. BV

At 12:28 PM, Blogger Cap'n Sylvia Sharkbait said...

At the place where I work we used to have an adopted rooster named Stanley. He lived in an old cargo container in the production warehouse. Stanley had a tendency to try to peck people on the legs. Some people used the broom trick; we also kept a spray bottle handy that emitted a strong stream of water that Stanley didn't care for. One guy always wore chaps (he worked with a long upright saw) and he just let Stanley peck away, basically ignoring him. Maybe you could provide high rubber boots or something to your donkey-sitter. Last summer the warehouse caught fire and Stanley got roasted. In memory we have a Stanley award for the person who demonstrates the qualities of goal-oriented perseverence that Stanley embodied. Have I mentioned we are insane in California?

At 6:58 AM, Blogger melinama said...

Oh Sylvia, I adore your story!

At 6:31 PM, Anonymous susanlynn said...

Sylvia~~~I've just got to say that you are probably one of the funniest, smartest , most interesting people I've ever ''met.'' It's always a treat for me to read your posts. I think that all your suggestions were good. As for me, even though I grew up on a farm, I steered clear of the roosters. Like a lot of animals, I think that they can sense when a person is scared of them, and I was scared of them.


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