It had stories about the upcoming city election, which promises to have one of the largest turnouts in decades, and the massive outage project now under way at Sandow’s Power Plant units which is bringing the biggest economic boost to our town in years.
And all anyone wanted to talk to me about, at least through the weekend, was the peacock.
Last Monday our town’s Socratic, Contemplative and Philosophical Society—uh, bunch of mostly retired coffee drinkers— was holding court at Texas Burger. Right in the middle of the “What Would I Do If I Owned the Cowboys instead of that Money Grubbing Doofus?” discussion they looked out the window at the building across the parking lot. And saw a peacock on the roof staring back at them.
Second thing was to call me.
I walked down the three blocks from my office fully expecting to find an oversized mockingbird, no doubt covering his beak with a wing to hide his snickering at how he had fooled everybody.
It was a peacock.
They d idn’t cover peacock tracking in the institution of higher learning I attended—it’s in Austin, has a tower—but I managed to get a couple of photos before it took wing, flapped over US 79 and started walking through yards on the other side of the highway.
Did you know peacocks could fly? I didn’t. I’m not sure peacocks knew before last Monday.
I had my photos, went in to thank the coffee drinkers for calling me and asked the restaurant staff if their peacock basket came with fries.
This was greeted with shock, not exactly the laughter I was hoping for.
I quickly exited before I could be charged with Environmental Thought Crime (enhanced) and almost made it back to work.
The club member who had originally called me, Willie Backhaus, whom I have known pretty close to half a century, motioned me to get into his car so we could go track the peacock.
So we cruised around the area for a bit, while I prayed the 18-wheelers roaring up and down US 79 would spare us. I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking what the headline on my obituary would read, but I wasn’t really expecting it to be “Editor, Nonagenarian Flattened While Chasing Peacock.”
We couldn’t find it.
Later in the week I learned the bird had been sighted all the way over on San Andres Street by employees of the Little River Medical Clinic.
Who immediately ordered several cases of the coffee they’d been drinking.
They even got so interested they looked up peacocks on the Internet. This one, apparently, was pretty rare.
Of course, what everyone wanted to know was the one thing nobody’s sure of. What was it doing in downtown Rockdale in the first place?
Well, what could a peacock be doing walking the streets of Rockdale? Oh, it’s not as hard to explain as you might think. These possibilities come to mind:
• It was applying for the job of Rockdale ISD superintendent.
• One of the mayoral candidates rented it out as a walking billboard but forgot to include the extra fee for spreading its tail and showing their name.
• It’s walking, and intermittently flying, the El Camino Real National Historic Trail.
• It’s opening a new restaurant featuring some really spectacular Buffalo wings.
• It’s scouting out new locations for Alcoa to drill water wells....after obtaining the proper permits, of course.
• It wanted to join the daily coffee- drinkers club at Texas Burger, but it was at least 70 years too young.
• It’s testing out the city’s new Peacock Ordinance.
• It’s here for the Peacock Sensitivity Training Session, scheduled by the Texas Education Agency, at the next in-service gathering.
• It f led to Rockdale from Louisiana after Duck Dynasty’s Robertson family mistook it for a yuppie duck.
Oh well, I’m not sure we’ll ever know.
I am kind of curious what peacock does taste like, though. It’s got to be better than those Houston Toad Legs.