The hot summer sun poured out its blistering rays upon the old and broken barn sitting right in the middle of old man Turnips barnyard. Any and everything sat rusting in the over grown weed infested barnyard. There was a red tractor and all the plow paraphernalia peeping out of the tall queen Ann’s lacy plants making a colorful display to the once busy farming land.
The only busy spot still leading to the barn and then curving toward the house was the grayish-black outhouse with its rustic tin roof. Old man Turnip as he was called by the local farmers had lost the ability to do a great deal of farming so most of his property was overgrown with various weeds. However he still made his usual trip out to the outhouse every morning to empty the white porcelain chamber pot.
There were no inside toilets so Mrs. Turnip kept white metal-like pots with its red-trimmed lids to keep all the foul odors locked inside. There was one in each bedroom and they were all kept discretely at the foot of the beds. It was the way they had of using the bathroom without leaving the house in the middle of the night. Mrs. Turnip would not be found outside after dark because of her fears of spiders and snakes lurking around.
Just because Mr. and Mrs. Turnip had grown older did not mean all the barnyard critters had. They had kept their families growing at a rapid rate. The old barn had become their castle. It was home to all the rats, cats, bats, snakes, owls and any other wild varmints in close proximity to the once noise-filled haven.
“Get down from the top of the tree you idiot!’ The mother owl screamed. She had been busy keeping an eye on a few big juicy rats and had not noticed that her child had finally reached the top of the giant oak tree.
“If I have told you once I have told you a hundred times not to go up to the top of this tree. If your wings are not very strong you could fall and splatter all over the ground!” She sharply screeched, her head turning completely around her feathered neck.
“Well something is crawling underneath my feathers and it is making me crazy!” Bugsy ranted as his sharp talons tried to calm the itching underneath his young feathers.
” You never listen to me and that is why you have those bugs under your feathers. Your father and I both offered to comb through your feathers and pick those little bugs out but you would have no part of it. So now they have probably laid eggs under there and have thousands of little lice running here and there.” She scolded.
“What the heck are lice anyway?” Bugsy called loudly.
“They are tiny little bugs that you get from other animals. I told you to help clean out the nest a few days ago but you refused. Now your feathers have become a new home for some of them. My eyes and your father’s eyes are sharp enough to see the little varmints. Didn’t you see us checking each other just yesterday?” She said as she fixed her eyes on her oldest child.
“There are millions of little bugs Mom. Can’t you be a bit more clear and describe them so I can know what to look for?” He snapped sharply.
“Watch your mouth boy! I will fly up there and put a few knocks on that slick head of yours!” She voiced harshly.
“Lice are small insects that sneak onto the plumage or fur on all sorts of animals. The birds like us have larger lice. This makes it easier to pick off. Lice and their eggs called nits are quite easily seen with the eyes. They are usually white to very pale yellow in color with a darker tan or brownish-colored head. Most are flat as a pancake! They are not nice! They are Freaking Flat Flies!” She spoke hoping to teach her wild child a few good lessons.
“Well they must have crept on me while I was sleeping. Those damnable critters are causing me to get my feathers all out of sorts. Just look at me. I look like a disheveled wild bird straight from the cuckoo’s nest.” He yelled loudly. His long fingernail like claws scratched wildly hoping to remove his un welcomed guest. “They are freaking flat flies that do not need to be on my body anywhere!”
“Maybe this will teach you to listen to your parents and keep your body well groomed. Every living thing has a way to keep all sorts of weird things out of their hair. Some people have lice, some goats have lice, chickens have lice, horses have lice but sometimes they can look different. Regardless they are all unwelcome guest. They want to bite your skin or suck your blood.” Mrs. Owl continued.
“Hogwash! I’m going to fly over to the back of the barn and get that brush Mr. Turnip used to brush the horses with. I’m going to rid myself of these hoodlums once and for all!” He protested loudly and with a vengeance. “I will not have some wild pancake critter sucking my blood.” He voiced.
So it was with Bugsy! He learned a well taught lesson on keeping his feathers large and small clean. He went around the barnyard telling all the horses, cats, birds, and cows to be aware of their hair. He even became known to all as Bugsy the Barnyard Eye Doctor. He could see so well with his sharp eye-sight that he could spot the little nits at once. His long beak could pick the lice out with ease.
Now this should be a lesson to all, even humans. Humans might not have the same colored lice or the same shaped lice but they can still get them in their hair. Washing and combing often can keep most of them away. So pass it along to your friends and neighbors just like Bugsy the owl did. Your hair is important to your well-being. Keep it brushed and shampooed regularly. Clean you’re living quarters so the little critters cannot take up homesteading there. If you do happen to catch them from a friend or neighbor be sure to tell your parents. A school teacher is always a good person to tell as well for they can help get them removed and keep others from catching them. No one wants their top notch filled with flat pancake-sized varmints. I don’t! Do you?
Question For Children: Can animals and people get lice in their hair?
Written by Sybil Shearin
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