Ah, the lusty days of spring when a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love. Well, and that goes for critters too of course. We lived in the country in Canada and if one looked, there was a lot of procreation going on and not only in the spring. Bull elk in the fall can make a heck of a racket.
When it comes the time to have that talk with the kids about relationships, and the technicalities of exactly how things happen when mommies and daddies get together, there are many ways of going about it. If one has a television it’s likely that the kids already know more about relationships than their parents do. Of course if one happens to have more than one child, it’s also likely that the elder child has already passed on their infinite wisdom on the subject to the eager ears of their younger siblings.
And so it was one fine morning in spring that I noticed our shepherd Molly was in heat. The kids had decided for some time that it would be nice to have puppies and this, we thought, would be a good segue to learn about other critters such as the birds and the bees. And folks. We had a neighbor who had a fine male shepherd named Storm whom they assured us would be up to the task. He was. The ensuing eleven puppies were just what a household with two cats, a hamster, three goldfish, sixteen chickens and six kids needed.
Meanwhile, our cat Minnie had already produced two litters of kittens and we had failed to use those opportunities to have our little talk. Since we had exhausted friends and neighbors with their golden opportunities for free kitties, it was time for Minnie to make that visit to the Vet’s office for the final fix.
The timing was a bit unfortunate as between procreating and prevention; we had the younger kids baffled. Enter older and wiser big brother Spencer who was very happy to give his rendition of The Talk.
Gathering a couple of his younger siblings near, Spencer lifted his leg to ride an imaginary motorcycle. Twisting the imaginary handlebars, he addressed his audience; “It’s easy. Storm’s gonna get his engine revved – pumped – you know” This Spencer did with a certain finesse born no doubt of many hours of watching motorcycle racing on TV. Audio was added for fair measure and he had his audience in the palm of his handle-grasping hands.
“And Molly’s gonna get her headlights turned on so that they just shi-i-i-ne” He drawled, grinning smugly.
“And Minnie, well –“. Spencer rolled his eyes sadly, and then crossing his arms he leaned forward dramatically and whispered, “Hedge clippers!”