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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