traffic and foul water fowl

I’m back in Rochester after a 10-hour drive. The trip from LI to Rah-cha-cha usual takes between 6 (if I push the limit and don’t stop) and 7 hours. Uggg. I was out of the car for maybe 15 minutes max during the trip. Traffic ground to a dead stop at least 7 times during the trip. I sat, not moving, on highways in three states. I realize that more people were driving this year due to the general discomfort with flying. But is it too much to ask that they would at least drive well? I passed 15 accidents over the course of the drive (often the reason that I was moving at 30 miles an hour for most of the trip). I hope Christmas isn’t this bad.

Ok, as for the foul fowl… I got into a fight with a swan while deep-frying the turkey for Thanksgiving. Seriously… My family’s home on LI is located on a canal and we often get visitors in the form of ducks, Canadian geese and swans. Halfway through the cooking of the turkey, a pair of swans came up our boat ramp apparently to say “hi” and eat some grass. Or so I thought. I would discover one’s really mission was far more devious.

I was alone near the fryer, preppin’ some sweet potatoes fries, when I noticed the larger swan starting to move towards the deep fryer. At first I assumed he was just going to munch on the grass in front of him. But he didn’t stop at the lawn. He kept going, getting closer and closer to the fryer. Suddenly I realized that he was making a run at the turkey and stepped between him and the fryer. The swan stopped less than two feet away from me for a moment. Then it moved to flank me to my right. I stepped to counter. The swan paused, sized me up, and then made a move to my left. I countered again and tried to shoo it away. With that the swan puffed itself up, extending its neck and flexed its wings. I suddenly realized how big a swan could get. “Hiss!” said the swan, which translated roughly as “I want some deep-fried goodness! Get outta my way.” Since “Shoo swan” wasn’t working, I shrugged and hissed right back saying “Silly Swan, turkey’s for people. Look, I’m deep-frying a distant relative of yours. You don’t want any of this.” The swan didn’t budge. If the bird actually made it to the fryer (which was less than three feet away from the stand off) it could be burned by the flame, or worse knock over the pot, ruin the turkey and mostly be killed by the 325 degree oil. I didn’t want to spend my Thanksgiving disposing of a dead swan. But there was no way I’d risk rushing this bird and possibly knock over the turkey in the ensuing melee. Finally, after a tense minute the swan retreated back to the ramp.

Situation averted, I turned to head to the back door of our house to call one of my brothers and tell what had happened. No sooner than I turned my back to walk away, the swan made another run at the pot. For the ten minutes I was held hostage by a swan. I couldn’t leave the pot unguarded; I couldn’t get help. Finally guests started to arrive and the swan retreated into the canal. He did fire off a final hiss of “you beat me this time Bernius, but there will be another day. I’ll get you my pretty and your deep-fried goodness too…”

The turkey, btw, was just about perfect. And there was much rejoicing. I think I’ll have to have people over again, to let them taste the difference.