“What ya got, Jerry?” I said as I ran toward my big
brother as he walked
down the road toward the house.
“Nothin” he mumbled as he held the box high above my head.
“You do too!” I exclaimed while hopping as high as
trying to see what great treasure he held.
“Okay, he sighed, I’ll let you look…but I’ll be the
one to tell mom…not you!”
he exclaimed as he opened up the box to show me what he was carrying.
I rushed over to look inside the box and saw two rather large baby birds.
“Where did ya get those ugly birds, and what’s wrong with them anyway?” I inquired.
“They’re not ugly and there’s nothing wrong with them.
They’re just baby crows and all their feathers
aren’t all grown out yet,” he said with annoyance as he shut the box.
“Momma’s not gonna let you keep ‘em,” I informed him
knowingly as I crossed
my arms in front of me like I’d seen Momma do when she meant business.
Jerry didn’t say anything but hurried on out to the shed with the birds.
I never did know exactly how he talked Momma into letting
those baby crows. I did hear her say something about, “not keeping them in the house”,
and “you have to take care of them”.
Because of our love for animals, we were to hear those words quite often
in the years of our childhood but Momma loved animals too, and it wasn’t long
until she was mixing up some kind of concoction
to feed the birds that had been named Heckle and Jeckle.
Over the years, my brother brought home crows, raccoons,
foxes, dogs, cats,
and the list went on and on. Essentially, any animal that he found that was homeless
or unable to take care of itself seemed to end up at our house at least for a time.
If they were wild animals, they only stayed until they were able to be on their own again.
Another crow that we had at one time was Sesame. She
was very intelligent and
she seemed to have a perfect memory.
She would hide food that you gave her and she never forgot where she put it.
The only time we ever confused her was when we gave her pieces of Popsicle.
She never seemed to understand about melting and what became of her hidden stash.
Sesame had even learned to say a few words but only
when she took the notion to talk.
She would never say anything when you tried to coax her to speak but
sometimes she would fly up high on a post and announce, “I’m Sesame,” as
if she were queen of the world. Once, when Momma was trying to catch the dog,
I heard Sesame laugh a hearty, “Ha, ha, ha,” when the dog got completely away from Momma.
Sesame provided a lot of entertainment for us but she
had no manners at all.
We soon learned that we had to watch her carefully when we hung out clothes on
washday because she would hop along the clothesline
and pull off the clothespins. This didn’t make Momma very happy
to find the clothes strewn along the ground.
Momma was a schoolteacher and when she drove to Baring
High School to teach, Sesame
would fly along beside the pick-up truck and then as we approached the school,
she would quickly fly ahead and already be sitting atop the school as we drove up.
She would walk back and forth arrogantly crying, “Caw! Caw!” as if to
say, “What took you so long to get here?”
One time Sesame even came inside the study hall window
and proceeded to snatch pencils
off the desks. Unfortunately, Sesame was full of this kind of bad behavior.
I suppose it must be an inherited trait in the crow family because no amount of discipline
seemed to turn her from her wicked ways. We would find things she
had taken and hidden behind plants or rocks and she was especially fond
of anything bright and shiny.
One time Great Uncle Frank spied Sesame with something
bright and shiny in her beak.
She was quite a distance away and she would not come to him when he called her.
This was normal for Sesame because she never came unless she just happened to be in
the mood to honor you with her presence. Usually, she had
to be coaxed by some bit of food or shiny prize to claim. The more
Uncle Frank watched her, the more he was convinced that she held a gleaming
silver dollar in her beak so he devised a plan:
He decided he would get her to drop the coin by offering
to trade with her so he reached
into his pocket and pulled out a shiny new dime. Sesame watched him for a little while
as he called to her. He held up the dime allowing the sun to reflect on it just right
so she would notice it. Finally, Sesame decided that she would indeed like to have the
shiny new dime. She dropped her tightly held treasure from her beak and
flew over and snatched the shimmering dime
from Uncle Frank and quickly flapped her wings and flew away with her prize.
Uncle Frank was excited that his idea had worked and
he rushed over to claim
his silver dollar. As he leaned over to pick it up, he let out a sigh and
then he began to chuckle as he shook his head
because he knew that he had been swindled. Sesame had traded her
piece of shiny round aluminum foil for a sparkling new dime!
Uncle Frank later told Momma that it was the first time he had been swindled by a crow.
Pamela R. Blaine
© October, 2003
Click Back to Return to Index of Stories