The Bird's Gift - My Family Travels

Yorkshire, England: home of roman ruins, heather blanketed dales and moors, manor houses, quaint villages and everything else that is quintessentially British. But giant birds?

Let me explain. On our first real day of vacation, my family practically skipped out to our faithful rent-a-car only to stop in disbelief. A cow had come in the night and left a massive cow-pie on our rear window. No, a rhinoceros had had a bad case of diarrhea, an elephant had left a disgusting gift, a dinosaur had — well, maybe it was just a bird that did it, but wow — I swear it was not your typical bird.

The splat it left was the splat of all splats. It probably made a “thud” noise when it hit the window of our poor, unsuspecting vehicle. The thick, hardened waste was splattered haphazardly all across the back of the car. No joke, it covered two thirds of the window and from the inside, you could barely see out. This ridiculous occurrence was just that, ridiculous and absurd. It was one of those times where you are so shocked and grossed out that all you can do is laugh.

And that is all we did do — laugh. Hysterically. Tears streamed down my face, my mom wiped her eyes, my little brother shook with his belly guffaws. My dad soberly assessed the situation and made a feeble attempt to wipe the junk off the glass but to no avail. His noble effort in the face of adversity, in this case, bird poop, only helped to unleash another round of laughter from all of us. We were beyond consolation, nothing could appease our hysterics.

When we finally got a grip on ourselves, and believe me, it took some time, we got into the humiliated car and set of on our excursion. We were not about to let some gargantuan bird ruin our first day in England. The day was postcard perfect with vibrant blue skies, puffy marshmallow clouds, and air so fresh and crisp it took your breath away. Maneuvering down cobblestone roads past quaint cottages and pristine gardens, we drank in the views like people parched for beauty. Hills of green patchwork rolled by, polka dotted with woolly sheep and golden hay bales in rows. Occasionally when my brothers and I, the backseat gang, missed a notable view, we would whip to see out of the back window, only to be met by the opaque splut that was the bird poop. In all of this splendor around us, we had forgotten about our little welcome present. It was still there, and not in any hurry to leave.

As the days went by, we were blessed with soothing rain, inviting sunshine, and caressing breezes. Each day also brought a little chip to the bird’s memento on our back window. Eventually, the thick grime had softened enough to yield a bit, and we were actually able to utilize our rear window wiper. After two weeks, all that was left of our welcome gift was a few spots on the boot of the car.

When it was time to return home, our trusty auto still held some battle scars from its skirmish with the bird. Giving one last glance as we walked to the terminal, we could not help but burst into another hysterical fit that had become habit whenever someone’s vision strayed to the back window.

It was the absurdity of the situation that made it so memorable and eternally amusing. Even now, whenever birds fly over head, we give one another a knowing glance and a jovial grin. This tiny circumstance out of the many unforgettable situations from the trip stands out because it brought us together in such a unconventional way. Throughout the whole trip we were bonded by our sorry car, entertained by the ridiculous state of the window.

England is a country of matchless natural beauty and charm and I have been fortunate to explore many parts of the country with my family. While its appeal always entices us back for more, it is the quirky events like this that make the memories and bring us together as a family. Looking back on this event still brings a smile to my face and acts as a reminder that it really is the little things that are valuable.

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