Leland has a million awesome qualities. If he didn't, he would never have snagged me. He seems to fit in everywhere he goes. He fits in just as well with the metalhead potheads as he does with the suits he works with. He can have great philosophical conversations and then immediately switch to a conversation about how eating a lot makes someone a patriot. He fits into today's technologically controlled society but also would have made a great cave man.
When I first met Leland I was surprised to find out he was enamored with dead things. He had a raccoon skull that he found in the woods perched on his TV. We later came across an otter skull that he just had to have. In a hallway in our house he actually displays his "dead things" collection. Both skulls are present, along with a few different bugs he thought looked cool.
A few years ago when my sister and her husband were gutting their house and making major repairs, Leland was there helping. As my brother-in-law was tearing apart the garage, a long-dead bird fell out of the roof. It was everyone's natural response to call for Leland. They all were well aware of his fascination with dead things. Leland decided to keep the bird skull and add it to his collection. He thought this one was particularly cool because it still had some feathers attached.
When my parents had a dead squirrel in their driveway, he wanted to keep it so he could have the squirrel feet in his collection as well. He actually did go to my parents house and brought the dead squirrel home, but I talked him into throwing it away after I pointed out that taxidermy wasn't in our budget.
On Friday, we found a dead bird in our driveway.
"Awesome," Leland said, "now I can have another skull for my collection."
"But the bird is totally intact and hasn't yet decayed. How are you going to get the skull?" I asked.
"I'll just cut the head off and clean it up with bleach."
After begging and pleading and being completely grossed out, I eventually convinced him to throw the bird in some bushes and let it complete the circle of life. So he walked to the edge of the driveway to throw it in the bushes with his bare hands! After even more convincing, I talked him into using a shovel. He then told me he would give the other animals a week to get him. If the bird is still there next weekend then it's a sign that he should keep him. I'm really hoping some other animals get him soon. I don't want to have to look at a bird skull in Leland's collection knowing that he chopped up a dead bird to get it.