Shamefully, I once left my grandmother to the mercy of a swooping bat after failing to rescue a chicken from our empty above-ground pool.
This part of the tale is toward the conclusion, but don’t be like me and leave your grandmother to the mercy of a swooping bat during a chicken rescue attempt.
The beginning, however, starts with Fred. Fred the rooster, who walked over to my family’s yard and proclaimed with a loud crow, “This is mine!” Repeatedly. Frequently.
My family and I thought he was a large bird when he first decided to declare himself ruler of the Aaron’s lawn and surrounding territory, but he apparently still needed to grow up a little, because he eventually went from being a large bird to a huge bird. He was white (we could tell when he’d sit under a vehicle because his feathers on his back would start to gray) with a deeply red, fairly high-reaching comb with a matching beard. He also had very, very long spurs at the backs of his feet.
But really, Fred was a good chicken, the most doglike bird I’ve ever seen (especially when my dad would go feed the songbirds in our yard; my dad would be walking down to the bird feeders, calling for Fred, and Fred would come running or sauntering to him, depending on his mood and hunger levels at the time).
Only one day, when he was still just a large bird, he managed to get himself into the deck-surrounded above-ground pool and couldn’t get out. Dusk was falling and my grandmother, Mawmaw, was trying to help him out with a pool skimmer or a net, if I’m remembering correctly. I went down, thinking all high and mighty, and tried to assist.
A detail that will become important: I am about 5-feet tall. The deck is about 5-feet tall.
So, I stood on the deck, now at around a height of 10-feet.
That, apparently, is the perfect fly zone for bats.
The bat, a small thing, flitted around Mawmaw and me.
I think I squealed. If I had the slimmer or net, I abandoned it.
I fled. Quickly. I was down the steps of the deck, across the yard, up the steps of our porch, and inside the house probably before Mawmaw had gotten down the steps of the deck.
She’d called to me, but I hadn’t waited. I was in a panic. I had never been that close to a bat before, not that I had ever intended to get very close to a bat.
Not that I have anything against bats, themselves, per se. I grew up watching the Animal Planet channel. I’ve seen pictures of plenty of different species of bats, including the ones that have odd, fleshy noses. I’ve seen videos of vampire bats feeding, which isn’t really pleasant, but whatever. I even find flying foxes to be quite pretty and cute animals.
So I don’t have a phobia of bats. Bats are fine. They battle bugs and win, eating their war prizes (which means they are good). No, instead, I have a deep, deep fear of rabies.
Rabies is gnarly (to put it very, very, very mildly). Honestly, it’s a super scary, horrific disease.
And, of course, bats in North America happen to be one of the most frequent carriers of the disease.
Now that I think about it, I’ve seems videos of several rabid animals: raccoons, foxes, coyotes. But I have no idea what a rabid bat would look like.
It didn’t matter at the time, when it felt like the bat was gliding right over my shoulder (it didn’t nearly get that close, of course).
By the time Mawmaw had gotten inside, safe and thankfully unbitten by the bat, I was already explaining my brush with the creature to my mom.
Mama thought it was hilarious.
I wasn’t amused (then).
(But now, four or five years later with no rabies in sight for Mawmaw or me, it might be a little funny).
About the Creator
Hello! I'm mostly a writer of fiction and poetry that tend to involve nature, family, and the idea of growth at the moment. Otherwise, I'm a reader, crafter, and full-time procrastinator!
Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!