Don’t tell Mama!

Back in the day, when one of our parents or aunts or uncles did something a tiny bit naughty that was witnessed by someone else, the event was invariably accompanied by the admonition, “Don’t tell Mama!”

Mama’s not around anymore not to be told anything–how was THAT for some convoluted grammar?!–but she would be most unhappy to learn of one of my pandemic interests: BIRDS.

As she told the story, several gazillion times over the course of her life, when she was 5 years old, she was walking out in the yard, eating a “dripping” sandwich, when she came upon the household chickens. A newborn chick got excited about the dripping part and ran over for a closer look. My mother ever so gently (her description) moved the chick away with the side of her little foot. Whereupon the mother hen took offense and began to flog my mother, who had to be rescued, bloodied and screaming, by my grandmother.

My mother had a serious bird phobia from that moment on, no matter how big, small, or far away they were. A horse nearly ran her over in front of the Hofburg in Vienna one day and she merely reached out to pat him. A friend who was with us exclaimed, You’re afraid of a pigeon but not an enormous HORSE?

So she would not be amused to learn that, while in lockdown, with no planes flying overhead and virtually no cars on the road, I began to take an interest in the sudden influx of birds in my garden. They were chattering so joyfully and zooming down from the trees and back up to the branches. I bought a couple of feeders and began to study them. I was intrigued by this account of someone who has had the same experience.

I will be running, not walking, to make this. If I can find some green-ish peanuts to boil–always a challenge when you are not in eastern North Carolina or at James’s gas station in Oxford, Mississippi.

I found this article fascinating. I may have to enrol in CS50!

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