|Sappy Story (which you may feel free to skip over):
When I was younger, about 6 to 8, I lived with
my maternal grandmother during the week. I went to a parochial school Monday
to Friday. On Friday nights, my mother would come pick me up and I would
stay at my parents' on the weekends. My grandfather had just passed away
and I stayed with her to keep her company.
Mornings, she would get me out of bed and
start to make my breakfast. That's when I would hear it. "Chirp!" The very
sharp "Chirp!" of a male cardinal. My grandmother told me he was letting
her know he wanted the sunflower seeds she put out for him every morning.
"Chirp!" She would let me help. "Chirp!"
I would scoop up a cup of sunflower seeds
and hand it to her. "Chirp!" She put the cup of seed on the window sill
and raised the window. Like a shot, he flew away. From a safe distance,
he would watch my grandmother pour the seeds along the ledge. (After all,
we were wild creatures and he could not be sure just what we would
do if he stayed while the window was open.)
As soon as she shut the window, he would fly
back picking up a seed, breaking it open and taking it back to his family.
I would eat my breakfast while watching him. It was like that until 1970,
when she sold her house and came to live with us.
After moving to my parents' house she worried
about who would feed that family of cardinals. I only heard her mention
it once, but I know she always thought of them.
My grandmother wasn't into "collecting." Living
through the Depression, she had no use for such "frivolity." But every
so often, I would notice something new in her room with a cardinal on it.
When she passed away in 1994, I "inherited"
most of her cardinal "collection." Maybe it comes a little late, but I
seem to find myself liking cardinals more since she died.
©1999 - 2001 Scott Kaiser