For the Birds

We’re for the birds around here. We could sit around for hours and watch them cruise in and out of the holly bushes, on and off the gutters and the porch rails, across and beyond the dunes. Every morning, I wake up before first light to the strangely gentle music of the ospreys on their perch. It is magical.  It is pure love.

When dawn comes, the pelicans glide in and out like the kings of the breeze, and the song continues in a different register.

That's birds being poems for you.

So when my daughter made a pelican in wood shop a few years ago, I was extra thrilled.

It was enough that my kid could operate a jigsaw; it was that again that she created my favorite bird out of plywood and put together a very cool mobile. So down here in North Carolina, I thought I would hang the bird in the family room. This meant displacing dad’s (roadside stand) parrot, who has always kind of kept his back to us in an “I’m so much better than a velvet painting of Elvis” roadside stand way, that I really thought the change was a major leap forward in so many ways.

Heck, this was genuine homemade, not that made-in-China homemade look. This was public education acutally producing a tangible good.  Just thinking about it gives me that Happy Days feeling all over again.

From May 29, 2012

When dad was down here in May, he wanted to know where his (displaced) bird was.  The daughter who can't even wrap up an extension cord properly but whose daughter can operate a jigsaw confessed to the whereabouts of the (roadside stand) parrot:  He was lying in repose in the hall closet, I said. “Oh,” dad said. Or maybe he didn’t, but I think the conversation ended about there.

The other day when I went on the prowl for the vacuum, I noticed there was no bird on the closet shelf. This disturbed me not a little. “Gee.  What happened to the body?” I wondered. And, “What can I do to convince dad I did not make a pair of cement shoes for his bird?” And then I let it go.  That bird was a snob after all. I would learn to live without him.  I would throw myself on dad's mercy.


Next time I was on the lookout for the vacuum, I tried mom and dad’s closet. And there was the Parrot with No Name, King of the Roadside Stand, lying on his back every bit like a dead bird. It was a moment without music.

He was not dead, it turns out, but in hiding waiting for his favorite pirate, my dad, to show up with a new hook from which he would show us his back.

From May 29, 2012
And I had thought the vacuum did it.  Just goes to show the importance of investigating a situation.  And possibly vacuuming more frequently than I do.


  1. lol poor bird.
    But I hate that because when ever I hang something it always has to turn away from you. No matter how you hang it it always does the about turn.:)

  2. Ha!! Dad just couldn't stand it could he. Ha!!
    Love the pelican!!

  3. Oh too funny. Poor parrot. ;) But how talented, your daughter. That pelican does deserve the place of honour.

  4. I love that pelican, you should be proud of your daughter. We have all sorts of treasures hiding in closets also.

  5. Heh. Poor parrot. He looks so sad.

    I must say though that your daughter's bird is more stunning, seems to contain more life, and motion. Hope your Dad finds a nice place for the parrot in his own room, where he can admire it in solitude.

  6. LOL! Love this story! Love the blue pelican and I love that your daughter can operate a jig saw!


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