Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The scene that ruffled her feathers

When my girls were young and we lived in the little green house on Nightingale Street, we had an old black and white TV set that couldn’t be relied on for a good picture. But once in a while we'd get lucky and manage to position the rabbit ears in exactly the right direction to pick up a passable signal.

On one such night my friend Cynthia brought her kids over and we all settled down to watch Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds. I was a little concerned that the movie might be too intense for my kids, especially for my three-year-old, so I kept a close watch on their reactions as they watched the movie.

The kids showed great interest but almost no fear as the suspense built moment by moment. They didn't seem to be bothered at all when a few birds began attacking people. Even when enormous flocks of birds flew across the screen to land on people and peck them around their heads and eyes, the kids didn’t show any alarm.

After a while, I stopped worrying and settled into the story. It was totally quiet in my living room except for the scary music soundtrack, the screeching and cawing of the birds, and the occasional screams of the characters. On screen, a dressed up Tippi Hedren entered a house where she encountered (duh!) lots of birds!

That’s when my little one finally saw something that terrified her: Tippi Hedren made her escape and ran away from the birds. She burst through the front door of the house and ran down the sidewalk as fast as she could, and as she ran, my child, suddenly on high alert, jumped up with an urgency that sent chills down my spine and screamed, "Her purse! Her purse! She forgot her purse!"

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