Bird Days

Bird Days

By Angie Brown, Guest Author

It was a warm, sunny day, and I left my front door wide open for fresh air. I then busied myself with the chores of the day. Suddenly, I heard the sweetest musical note coming through the open door. I looked out to see a rosy colored, male house finch sitting on the hanging begonia planter. He was apparently calling to his mate, because she quickly came flying in to join him. They buried themselves in the middle of the pot, under the leaves, wriggling and chattering, and, finally, they flew away. I wondered, “Are they planning to use the planter for a nesting site? Should I allow them to demolish the flowers, knowing also that they can leave an untidy mess on the porch? The birds may be back any time now with building materials, so I’ll have to decide quickly.”

While I was trying to make a decision about whether to encourage or discourage such a venture, Mother Nature solved the problem. The sky grew dark. It thundered, and the rain came with the wind. Lightning streaked through the atmosphere, and the rain just poured down.

Apparently, the birds found a sanctuary more suitable than my front porch and did not return to nest in the hanging begonia planter. They only came to the feeding station out back to share in the daily ration of sunflower seeds and, of course, to give me much enjoyment in watching them.

I’m what they call, “a birder.”

(For more short stories by Angie Brown, click HERE)

Friends

Friends

By Angie Brown, Guest Author

I was finishing after-supper chores one day, when there was a knock on the door. I opened it to find a little girl, about nine years old, with an impish grin on her face. “Can I use your phone?” she asked. “Sure,” I replied, realizing that she was one of the children who had recently moved in next door. The next day, about the same time, she came again. This time, she said, “I came to visit.” After explaining that I couldn’t visit right then, she left. This did not discourage her. The third time, she came to use the phone again. I sensed this was going to be a daily routine, so I said, “only in emergencies.”

A few days later, she burst into the kitchen without knocking. Holding up her hand, she said, “An emergency; do you have a band-aid?” I promptly got one, as I could see a small trickle of red oozing out of the palm of her hand. I fastened the band-aid on the cut. She thanked me, gave me a slight hug and left. Her conversations were always short and sweet.

I didn’t see her again until several days later. She was on her way to our back door, but before I could get there, I saw her mother following and taking her by the hand, and ushering her back home. That told me she was coming over without permission. She was like a puppy or kitten, always returning after interruptions in between. By this time, I had much love and compassion for Daisy. It was the quiet way she had of appearing out of nowhere, plus the smile on her, usually soiled, face that got to me.

We were having our evening meal on the porch one day, when she emerged again, this time with a gray and white kitten to show us. I asked her how many they had. She said, “Tons and tons.” Skipping away, she came back with a dish of ice cream and a spoon and sat down at the table to eat it. Believing that she wanted to eat with us, I offered her a muffin, which she gladly accepted. Upon finishing that and her ice cream, she left.

Later, while I was in the garden, she called me to come over and see her kittens. Her two sisters and three brothers were also waiting as I walked over. They directed me to an unused vehicle in the yard. There, on the inside, were many cats. “Tons,” as she said, of all shapes and sizes. That explained why I was seeing so many cats in the neighborhood lately! They were climbing over the seats and the instruments. The children were having the joy that only an animal pet can bring. Babbling all at once, the children proceeded to tell me which kittens belonged to which mothers.

A few months later, when I told Daisy we were moving, she seemed disappointed. She sat quietly for a moment, and I knew she was thinking. Then off she scampered. As she returned and handed me a single, pink rosebud, the loving expression on her face revealed it all: “Thank you for being my friend.”

(For more  short stories by Angie Brown, click HERE)

BREAKING AND ENTERING… sort of

BREAKING AND ENTERING… sort of

By Angie Brown, Guest Author

This brief escapade took place about 25 years ago when my husband, Henry, and I were still living in a small, wood-frame house that he had built in Portville, NY, a small town on the outskirts of Olean.  At the time, Henry was a patient in the local hospital. After a brief visit to the hospital to call on him, I arrived back home.  I walked up the seven steps of the storm porch around back and found that when I left for the hospital, I  accidentally pushed the small lever on the inside of the door, locking it. And, just in case of rain, I had closed all the windows before leaving.  I had locked myself out of my own house!

I just stood there for a moment and studied the situation carefully.  I thought to myself, “Now what am I going to do?”  Then I noticed that the screened window on the porch was open, and hope lifted me. I went straight to the garage and found a six-foot ladder, a hammer and a screwdriver. With tools now in hand, I went to work.

Putting the ladder all the way up to the window of the porch, I worked the screwdriver under the molding and around the screen, loosening one side of the screen.  Then, reaching in, I slid the bolt out, releasing the screen and dropping it to the ground. When the screen hit the ground, I took a quick look around, hoping no one would see this 70-year-old woman crawling through the window; I might have gotten arrested and booked for breaking and entering!  And, fortunately, I was wearing slacks, so at least my modesty would not be compromised in the process.

After easing myself through the newly “opened” window and inside the porch, I was able to unlock the storm door. Then, I used my key to unlock the kitchen door.  Now, all I had to do was repair the screen and put it back in the window, not a small order for a career housewife who was used to relying on her husband for such things!  But I quickly came up with just the right plan of action.  First, with a few small nails which I found in the garage, I tacked the molding back into place.  Then, climbing the ladder again, I replaced the mended screen.  That done, I surveyed the job and decided it was so well done that no one would even suspect it had been tampered with, not even Henry.

I decided not to report this embarrassing episode to Henry until he was home from the hospital and well on his way to recovery. I was looking for the most opportune moment to let him in on my little secret. When I did, he was both aghast and amused. I think he must have been imagining what I looked like crawling through the window opening.  Pretty soon I noticed that he had walked out back to inspect my work, so I joined him. He seemed pleased and, perhaps, impressed with my handiwork.  Then I confided in him, “My dentist told me I had an engineering mind.”

Who would have guessed that my dentist would one day be an unwitting accomplice to my breaking and entering escapade?! But, I’m not sure I want to tell him about it too; he might not find it so amusing.

(For more articles by Angie Brown, click HERE)