Before I get into this true story, ya'll gotta make me a solemn promise. You can't tell nobody 'bout this episode 'cause, quite frankly, it's embarrassin'.
When I mention the word "buzzard", some of you might think I'm talkin' about one of my old school teachers. Well, I ain't; at least, not this time. In this particular instance I'm referrin' to the real thing. You know, one of those big, black, uglier'n-sin birds that soar seemingly nonstop, ever searchin' for a morsel of dead meat to dine upon.
I know, too, you've seen a cowboy movie wherein the hero, having been captured by a band of Indians, was staked out on the desert as food for buzzards. Of course, the hero survived, but that movie scene is what prompted my endeavor. Lookin' back, I wished to high heaven I'd never seen the dad-blamed movie!
Being an ol' country boy, I've seen plenty of buzzards swarmin' over the carcass of a dead cow. And when approached, they'd always fly off a ways, land, and then eyeball me suspiciously as if I might be hungry enough to eat their dead cow! Either that or they were sizin' me up for a meal.
Well, after rememberin' that movie scene, I began to wonder if it would be possible for me lay down on the ground and remain still long enough for the buzzards to believe I'm dead and land close by. Of course, I would slap one silly before I let him get close enough to peck out one of my eyeballs, so it really didn't take much wonderin' on my part before I made up my mind to give it a try.
Back in those days my dad grew acres and acres of crimson clover for hay. Our cows were so taken by the taste and beauty of the clover that they often broke through the fence in order to graze upon it. And therein lies the cause of my undoin'.
Have you ever wondered what happens when a cow gorges herself on fresh, green clover? Well, take my word for it, it stinks and there's usually a lot of it. If you don't get my drift or are too citified to know what manure is, I'll explain. It's...., uh..., you see..., okay, to put it bluntly, manure is what comes outta the cow on the opposite end that hay goes into.
Anyway, it was time for ol' Galen to try his experiment. Now folks, you need to use your imagination here. Close your eyes and imagine the sun shining brightly in a crystal clear sky.
On second thought, open your eyes. How else are you gonna continue reading?
The temperature is a balmy 85 degrees or so with winds from the south at only a couple of miles per hour. A huge blanket of crimson clover tops sway beneath the soft caress of the gentle breeze. Birds are chirpin' and singin' as they catch grasshoppers and bugs; honey bees buzz hither and yon as they gather nectar (that's a city word I learned at Athens - before then I called it flower sap); and a freckle-faced young boy of about seven years of age climbs through the fence and begins an experience he will never forget.
I walked to the middle of that sea of red carpet and lay down upon my back. Getting as comfortable as I could, I began the chore of playin' dead and enticin' a buzzard or two to land beside me. This is gonna be easy, I thought.
Peekin' outta one eye, I saw a buzzard circlin' overhead. The gentle breeze I mentioned brought a very slight, faint whiff of odor to my nostrils. Now, just what is that smell, I wondered? The thought was short-lived when some kind of bug started crawlin' up my arm, tryin' his best to get me to scratch and signal that buzzard that my heart still beat heartily. But I wasn't going to give up easily, and I held fast. No bug was gonna give me away!
The gentle wind brought the fleeting odor again to my sense of smell, but I was so intent on bein' dead that I didn't pay it much attention. I kept my focus on remainin' absolutely dead.
A little while later a big ol' green fly buzzed around my face. But I knew that if I swatted at him, that ugly eagle-eyed buzzard would know ol' Galen ain't dead and wouldn't come within a hundred yards of me. So rather than swat with my hand, I puckered up and blew at him. And no, to the best of my knowledge, that ain't where the name "blow fly" came from. Anyway, I finally convinced the fly to move away from my face.
"Steady..., steady..., that buzzard is givin' me the eye for sure!" I thought. "I can't move a muscle or he'll know I ain't dead yet." Once again the wind brought the fleeting aroma to my nose. I was certain I had smelled the smell before, but just couldn't put my finger on what it was.
Closer and closer sailed the buzzard. Stronger and stronger became the odor. Very slowly another sensation made itself known to me; it was a damp, moist feelin' beneath me. Suddenly and with the explosiveness of an erupting volcano, it dawned upon my rattled brain the cause of the odor.
Remember me tellin' you how fresh clover affects a cow's metabolism? Well, you got it! I had sat down in a sho'nuff, ex-treeeemely fresh, rank-as-all-get-out, pile of cow manure.
If I coulda gotten ahold of the cow that "laid the groundwork" for this fiasco, the buzzards could have eaten very well for a week or two!
I lived over the episode, but lied to my mom about why I was takin' a bath with the water hose and with my clothes still on. Hey! I couldn't afford her tellin' anyone the truth! My pals would've laughed me outta the state, and Lord knows what my brother woulda started!
So, help me out folks; eat more beef. Every time you eat a steak or hamburger, I'll be thankin' you for helpin' me extract a little revenge!
Galen White lives in Homer. His column runs weekly in the Minden Press-Herald.