Poor Mr Percival …

September 4th, 2013 ยท No Comments »

I recently saw the stage play version of Storm Boy, a co-pro from Sydney Theatre Company and Barking Gecko Productions. It brought back memories …

Firstly it brought back the memory of reading Colin Thiele’s book, and seeing the Australian film version of the book when I was a kid. It is a very sad story about a boy and his friendship with a pelican, Mr Percival.

Then it brought back a slightly more harrowing memory …

On the farm where I grew up we didn’t have pelicans. We didn’t live near the sea and I think when I read Storm Boy, I’d never seen a pelican in real life. One day one of my brothers discovered a pelican out on one of our dams. This was a very rare spotting indeed and there was much excitement. Oh, I forgot to point out that the pelican was dead. Long dead. Still, a pelican is a pelican, dead or alive, so the pelican was brought home from the dam on a truck and we all all gathered around the corpse, marveling at the enormous bird. My mother then decided it was a good opportunity for a photo shoot. Of course, taking a photo of a dead animal is a little on the macabre side, so my four brothers and I were instructed to grab bits of the pelican and animate it so it looked alive. We all wore coats and gloves because we were all worried about maggots.

The photo, which unfortunately I don’t have a copy of, is one of the most disturbing yet funny photos my family has in its collection. The bird does not look even remotely alive. It is this floppy, disgusting rotting thing in our arms. The look of disgust on our faces as well is pretty hilarious.

Ahhh, the memories of growing up on a farm …

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