For the 6th anniversary of my grandfather’s death, I recall several memories my grandmother (the wife) has shared with me.
Here’s one at the top of my head:
- *On our small ranch south of the desert, there was a nearby forest. I’m saying forest because there were a lot of trees, except they were all dried up and dead. This dead forest surrounded a side of our cottage and is where our chickens technically lived. After living there for almost two years, our chickens started disappearing. It would be one or two, sometimes three, everyday that would vanish. At first we didn’t know what it could be. They couldn’t have been getting sick and dying because their bodies were nowhere to be found, so we assumed the most likeliest reason: someone is stealing them and/or eating them. We assumed right. It didn’t take long for us to finally see who was taking our chickens. I first saw him in the middle of the day as I was feedong the dog. The middle of the day! He had the audacity to grab one of our beloved hens between its talons in the middle of the day! I don’t think he saw me that first time as I was in too much of a shock to say anything, and by the time I recovered he had already disappeared somewhere off in the distance. But midday! It was barely past noon and he couldn’t go hunt for his own food! Or at least ask? That’s when I started wondering if something was wrong. Well, the next few times your grandpa and I saw him and caught him in the act we would yell at him, shoo him away. That’s when we realized it was usually the same one. Usually. Sometimes a different one appeared in all its thievery, but it was normally that same one. Soon he began to appear only at night as evidenced by missing chickens in the morning and the occasional panicking chicken sounds we’d wake up to in the middle of the night. Your grandfather threatened to shoot it, but we both knew that would be dangerous. You shoot one, and they never leave you alone. We moved north, half to get away from them, half to find better farmland. We were so positive we had seen the last of them. We didn’t. They followed us. They didn’t steal our chickens as much as before, but they would perch themselves on the trees nearby every evening and just sit, as if mocking us. As you know, this is somewhat unusual behavior. Only the rogue or possessed would follow someone across a country…And then he did it. Your grandfather, the gunslinger that he was, brought out one of his rifles, aimed, and shot him. Shot him right in the wing. He was perched on a branch and oh, how surprised he was! He flapped excessively as the bullet hit, but he was still able to fly away. And as he flew, I’ll always remember what the Tecolote exclaimed: “Fucking Bastard!”
*translated from its original Spanish