Emily the emu began her life as a science project. A local teacher had conducted a classroom experiment to hatch two emu eggs. Owning an emu is not a short-term commitment: in captivity these exotic birds, which are native to the Australian savanna, can live thirty-five years or more.
At any rate, it was an interesting project for schoolchildren. Both eggs hatched, and the teacher named them Emily and Enoch. Enoch was a homebody, pretty placid, a lover boy; he’d stand at the pasture fence, batting his big hazel eyes and waiting to be fed and petted. Emily was a loner and alas, didn’t give up her roving ways after she moved to the Funny Farm. One time, a storm blew through, felling a tree that in turn broke her pasture fence. Emily took off like Papillon and was gone for two full months. Her escape made the news, and we got constant updates from confused people who said, “I swear I’m not drunk, but I just saw a six-foot turkey in my backyard!” Emily was caught and brought back to the Funny Farm.
Enoch, always on the sickly side, only lived about ten years. We took in another emu called Elvis, who has since left the building, too. Emily has outlived two husbands.