A big, (but true) Holiday tail [sic]

By John Marlowe

Do you believe in signs from above? I didn’t, although I consider myself a very spiritual person. Before, I maintained a healthy skepticism of Bible stories, and I looked through narrowing eyes at people who claimed God or the universe counseled them during some supernatural experience.

I would never suggest that folks weren’t earnest in their belief, or that it all was a bunch of poppycock. However, I decided early on that I wasn’t going to buy completely into divine manifestations until the Viburnum in my front yard burst into flames, and started bossing me around.

I may have to rethink that strategy.

In the past three years, I’ve had three separate events in my life that I can’t explain in any typical way. I’m not talking about having a gut feeling, good or bad, or some forewarning that maybe we shouldn’t drive down this road, tonight. I’m talking about one of those, I’m-not-really-sure-that-I-want-to-share-with-you occurrences, because I can only explain the happening as . . . God is giving me a sign.

I’m pretty sure the Big Guy is speaking to me now, but for the life of me, I can’t figure out what he’s saying.

It was Thanksgiving morn. I just snapped the red lid on my Rubbermaid food container. Inside, nestled my world famous Sweet Potato Casserole. It’s become quite a favorite at our family Thanksgiving dinner, although no one remembers why. I use bourbon in my recipe, which adds a little woody sweetness, and whose stockpile in my liquor cabinet was about to come in handy.

I grabbed my keys and coat and spuds, and walked out the door, prepared for the two-hour drive. I decided not to turn on any lights, because the peep of day was nigh, and a thin ribbon of daylight was already sneaking over the horizon.

Let me pause, here, to give you a few chances –– let’s say, ten million –– to guess what happened next. Time’s up.

As I approached my SUV in the driveway, I was hit squarely in the face by a peacock.

That’s about it. End of story. Thank you all for reading. Thanks for joining me. Come back next week for my new column.

More, you ask? I’m not sure what more I can add.

A peacock evidently decided to sleep on my car, overnight. When I rounded the corner of my back porch, we both reacted in similar fashion, although I’ll bet I flew higher. He soared to the roof of my house, and splayed open his giant fan of stunning tail feathers.

(If you need proof that peacocks can fly, I’ve included links on our website to a video I shot later.)

You’ve got to understand that it’s not like I live on a farm or in the rural backcountry. I live in a quiet suburban neighborhood, in a small suburban town. Except for a three-legged Labrador, and a bipolar parakeet that lives one street over, the animals in our neck of the woods are pretty normal.

Where did he come from? None of my neighbors have peacocks. None of my farmer friends, either. The closest place you’re likely to find another peacock sleeping on a car is probably . . . oh, I don’t know . . . Sri Lanka?

On my outbound drive, I struggled to make sense of it all. My inner voice kept saying that –– being Thanksgiving –– it made more sense had I been accosted instead by some turkey on the lam. Sure, that’s more logical. People are hit in the face by sleeping turkeys every Thanksgiving. Right?

A peacock, though? They can’t fly very far, so they don’t go south for the winter. Even if they did go south, the nearest bus stop is two counties over.

Tremendous guilt descended over me every time I walked past the turkey platter at dinner. Maybe I should have asked him to join me, or at least directed him to a community meal somewhere. He could eat the cranberries.

I found myself worrying about my new blue-feathered friend all day. Will he get cold? What if a cat –– probably a leopard with my luck –– attacks him?

Do I need a leash? I will if I must, but I really don’t want to be known as that old man who walks his peacock when he gets home from work.

In the meantime, I decided this has to be a sign from above. But, a sign of what?

Maybe that I’m using too much bourbon in that casserole.

P.S.: This is day six, and the peacock still sleeps on my car. I don’t know where he goes during the day, probably to the gym. I can’t believe I’m saying this, but . . . If you’ve misplaced your peacock, please contact the Editorial Department of this newspaper. I refuse to call Animal Control, and ask them to come lock up my peacock. I don’t want to cry fowl.

John O. Marlowe is an award-winning columnist for Sagamore News Media.