Friday, April 1, 2016

The A-Z of Melody McDonald: “A” is for Animals

Melody loved (she still does) animals of every kind. She made no distinctions. Believe it or not, she even loved rats; that was before she met sewer rats, though. In fact, her love for rats waned a little when her male, Big Stuff, ate the female, Spot. That action did not endear him to her. She still likes mice, though, as long as they help pay the rent.

She did have a few animals that she liked best, though. They weren’t necessarily any particular type over another unless, of course, they were horses. Horses were the animals that populated her dreams. She dreamed of riding Pegasus high above the world, just like Bellerophon. However, she loved her pets, such as Pink Ears, Missy and Butterscotch, as much as she loved horses. The first two were her pet bunny and her beloved best buddy, a sweet Sheltie (dogs are also a girl’s best friend, despite the song about girls and diamonds). Butterscotch was another four-legged friend: a bedraggled, drenched orange kitten that came to live with Melody during the time covered in book two.

There are a million tales that could be told about Melody’s love for animals, but I’ll just quickly share a couple of the most unusual (Unusual, that is, for most people; they were just run-of-the-mill for Melody).

Melody and the baby snake

Baby Diamond Back rattlesnake
One year, during the family’s Labor Day picnic at Big Bear Lake, she saw a very small snake slithering toward their picnic table. Delighted, and wanting to show that she was not only great at catching lizards but also at catching snakes, she snuck up behind the little snake. She thought it would make a beautiful addition to her terrarium. It wasn’t very big, about seven inches long, but when she started leaning over to grab it, her grandmother caught sight of her and looked down at the little snake that had attracted Melody’s attention.

When she saw exactly what kind of snake it was, she reached down, picked up a big rock and slammed it down on the tiny snake, just as it started to reach up to Melody’s hand. Astonished, Melody began to cry and asked her grandmother, “Why, Grammy? It was so cute. Didn’t you see how it was standing up so I could catch it easier? And now it’s dead.”

Her grandmother tried to explain that if it had bit her she could have died, but Melody was inconsolable and refused to talk to anyone until her Gramps cut the rattle off the dead snake and handed it to her. He explained that, even though the snake was only a baby, its bite was just as poisonous as an adult snake’s.

That was the last time Melody ever tried to pick up a rattlesnake. She caught lots of other snakes, lizards, frogs and toads, but never another rattlesnake. She had the rattle for a very long time as a reminder.

The snails

Common garden snail
This is a much shorter and to the point story of Melody and her reasoning.

One day, Honey (Melody’s mommy) had just finished cleaning the house, and was resting on the couch. At the time there were only three children, although Kenny was on his way. She thought the children were taking a nap, but she should have known better. A rustling sound caused her to look up. She gasped at the sight that met her eyes. She didn’t think she’d ever seen a more disgusting (or comical) vision in her life: there, standing in all her five-year old glory, was Melody, covered from the neck down in… snails.

Her excuse? The snails were in in a hurry to get into a cool place before the sun got too hot and dried them out. They were too slow and asked her if she would give them a ride. She did, and since the coolest place she knew was the house, that’s where she took them. Honey was so flabbergasted that all she could was point toward the door and say, “out”. Melody hung her head and followed her mother’s instructions, explaining to the snails on her way out that they were going to have to find another cool spot, outdoors.

These were just a couple of examples of Melody’s obsession with animals. There were so many more, that they would require a thousand books to contain them all (okay, so maybe there would be only a hundred). ;)
If you find it hard to believe these things really happened, you can always ask my mom; she remembers!