Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), and several Kindle ebooks.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Suicide Buzzards

One of the hazards of rural living is unexpected encounters with critters. In June 2004, for example, Franklin County became world-famous when a bear wandered into the emergency room at Franklin Memorial Hospital. Granted, the town of Rocky Mount—where the hospital is located—isn’t exactly rural, but it’s darn close.

A month earlier, an Air Force fighter Jet crashed in Callaway, a definitely rural area in the western end of the county. Eventually, the cause of the crash was determined: collision with a buzzard. It was the first "suicide buzzard" mission anyone had heard of in these parts.

I live in eastern Franklin County, where a suicide buzzard collision happened yesterday morning a couple hundred feet from my property line. My neighbor—we’ll call him B—was headed down Novelty Road in his pick-up when he came upon a couple buzzards chowing down on some fresh rabbit roadkill. Now, buzzards perform a valuable and needed service in the county. They dispose of roadkill in a fairly quick and efficient manner, and usually before it starts to smell. They’re a lot faster than VDOT when it comes to cleaning up corpses along the road.

Normally buzzards hop out of the way when a vehicle approaches. One of these didn’t. The suicide buzzard flew right up into the windshield, thereby breaking it and knocking the rear-view mirror into B’s head. He was also covered in shattered glass, but that didn’t cause him any injuries. He was better off than the buzzard.

He pulled over and called his insurance agent, who said he’d get a new windshield today and that he needn’t bother reporting the incident to the police. I guess there wasn’t any use to charge the buzzard with improper flying, since it didn’t have insurance and it wasn’t in good enough shape to refute any charges against it.

Looking on the bright side, B’s windshield already had a tiny nick in it from being hit by one of the loose gravels that VDOT spread a couple of weeks ago, so he knew he’d have to get the windshield replaced eventually. He just didn’t figure on getting it replaced so soon—and under such bizarre circumstances.

Given the fact that there now seems to be a trend of suicide buzzard missions, I figure it won’t be long until VDOT starts erecting signs warning motorists to beware of buzzard bombings.

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