Horny Resurrected

horned-toadMy sister, Vickie, and I had a lot of strange animals when we were growing up.  The usual assortment of dogs and cats, of course, but also a porcupine named Ouch, a gray squirrel with long yellow teeth, rabbits that periodically disappeared as though lifted up into heaven.  The night after one such bunny assumption, my sister lifted the fried leg of an oddly configured hen in the air over her head and announced, “If this is a chicken, he was kneeling.”

My point is, we had a lot of peculiar pets. 

For one entire week I was blessed with the company of an orange-bellied salamander.  I found him in a creek and tied pink embroidery thread to his leg and the other end of the thread to a button on my blouse.  Sally and I were inseparable.  Though, as with many of my subsequent relationships, I may have been more thrilled with the arrangement than was the amphibian. 

Vickie once kept a horned toad in a shoe box. We were sort of known for forgetting to feed and water these captives and when, a few months after the unfortunate lizard’s capture, she opened the box to a flat and stiff little body, we decided to have a funeral for Horny.   We invited the neighbor kids.  It was late summer in the suburbs.  Attendance was high.  My mother even dragged herself inside from her usual position stretched out in the back yard covered in suntan oil and wearing her leopard skin bikini.

Vickie and I made chocolate chip cookies.  Great-grandma had died a few months earlier so we knew it was important to feed funeral guests.  We arranged all seventeen bottles of assorted booze behind the cookies as this seemed another requirement for the death of a loved one, but Mom intervened and not only made us put the bottles back and mix her a coke high, but she decreed that the entire funeral would be held outside.

We opened our bedroom window and set the phonograph on the windowsill playing a .78 LP of The Yellow Rose of Texas. We insisted the neighbor kids wash their hands and faces before lining up for the procession. 

Horny was laid out beautifully in his purple satin lined shoe box.  Open casket.  We planned to allow each mourner to kiss the spiky head before burial.  Vickie was the sole pallbearer.  At the grave–a hole under Mom’s rhododendron bush–I intoned a prayer for blessed Jesus to accept the soul of Horny into the kingdom of God.  I was right at that part of the ceremony when I planned to lift my arms to the washed-out blue sky and deliver the poor soul into God’s hands, when Vickie let out a piercing scream.

The lizard had awakened from his hibernation and was frantically scratching to get out of the cardboard box.  Never should have allowed that open casket.  Vickie looked around at the neighbor kids, heads bowed, hands folded at their crotches as we’d instructed.  My sister lifted Horny from his beautiful coffin, dropped him into his carefully prepared eternal resting place, and quickly threw dirt on him. 

She then hopped up and down on the new dirt, muttering ominously, “Die you stupid lizard, die!”

We wrapped services up quickly then.  Sang one verse of Onward Christian Soldiers and hurried everyone to the cookies and lime Kool-aid.

Vickie and I learned a lot that day.  The most important life lesson being that booze, lots and lots of booze, is an absolute requirement at any Foster family funeral.

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About Author and Speaker Pamela Foster

Pamela Foster is a speaker and author. Her first book, Redneck Goddess, is available at local bookstores and on Amazon. Her second book, Bigfoot Blues, will be available in August 2012.
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5 Responses to Horny Resurrected

  1. hahaha this reminds me so much of my little sister. During our childhood she had fish and my father had to eventually ban her from garden burials given the fact that she used to make each fish a lolly stick headstone and the garden was starting to look a little like a war memorial! Great post.

  2. stormy says:

    What a delightful story, at least to read. I’ll bet that Horny had a brief moment where it was not as much fun as it might have been. I’m sure that the message from heaven is “Beware of the Foster Sisters”!

  3. Mona Krause says:

    I love your family story’s. Vickie always come to the rescue for a grand ending. Go Foster family.

  4. pamelavmason says:

    Bwahahaha! I am going to remember that every time I’m at a funeral now. And when I fall over laughing I’m gonna blame you!!

  5. truthsbyruth says:

    OH, Pam, I’m laughing so hard I’m about to pee my pants. I can see the two of you, your mom, the kids, and Horny. Great story.

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