Commentary

Snow: Not like a touchdown high

June 8, 2013 

Someone teasingly asked me what kind of a “high” bird-watching brings.

“Is it something like a guy feels when he scores a touchdown with the score tied?” he asked.

I’m not a bird-watcher in the true sense of the word. I don’t go around hiding in bushes, hoping for a glimpse of the twice-speckled, rufous-sided twinkle-toed thrush. I don’t go from state to state in search of certain rare species. Many, many do.

But when the once almost extinct Eastern bluebird decides to move into a birdhouse on my front lawn every spring, my heart leaps a bit. What greater flattery than being trusted by some wild thing such as that?

There are millions of us. “How are your blues doing this year?” is a common inquiry, leading to a detailed answer of the status of a couple of birds that are things “of beauty and a joy forever,” or at least for a summer.

No, bluebird watching is not a macho sport, although almost as many men as women participate.

I’ve never scored a touchdown, so I can’t compare that “high” with that of having a bluebird eat mealworms from my palm or perch on my shoulder.

But one of my readers, Peg Esposito of Raleigh, recently sent an email that will give you some idea of what blue-birding means to some people.

She’s never scored a touchdown, but read what she wrote:

“Oh my God!!!! I’m watching a bluebird feed her two babies suet on the railing of my deck! This is unreal!!! I have chills all over!!! I thought of you right away. How wonderful!!!”

Another thing about bird watching: You’ll seldom, if ever, break a leg or suffer a brain concussion while marveling over a bluebird.

A death in the family

Fido is the Doberman grand-dog of neighbor Sam Johnson, and is owned by his daughter, Leslie Carpenter, former president of the National Doberman Society.

Fido recently gave birth to six pups, one of which arrived in poor condition and died soon thereafter.

When Leslie showed the mother the deceased pup, she lovingly tried to kiss it back to life. When she realized the pup was dead, she ultimately began to grieve and weep.

She then picked up each of the surviving five and placed them where they could nurse.

The pain of the loss of a child is not limited to the human race. Tragedy and grief are common to all living things.

‘Yankee’ alert

This from reader Heidi Ross: “Today I had a conversation with a young woman who is a native of North Carolina. She was quite upset by a woman who kept honking her horn when she stopped to let a funeral procession pass.

“With all the newcomers in the area, perhaps you could do a public service by mentioning this Southern custom in your column.

“I am one of those dreaded ‘Yankees,’ but I learned soon after my arrival that this is the custom here, and a fine one, I might add.

Card creativity

From time to time, I find myself wondering who writes the texts for the millions of greeting cards mailed each year. Now and then you come across some remarkable compositions.

A friend received a card recently with one of those belly laugh messages that read: “Getting old is kinda like frying bacon in the nude. You know it’s gonna hurt, but you’re not exactly sure where.”

Another favorite is a birthday card my wife received: “God grant me the senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do like and the eyesight to tell the difference.”

I called Hallmark and learned that the company has a full-time staff in Kansas City, Mo., that does nothing but compose card messages.

Diet alert!

An article in a recent issue of Week magazine insists Americans’ diets are lacking. We should eat more insects.

The United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization is urging the U.S. and other western nations to beef up their diets with beetles, etc. Some 1,900 species of insects are being gulped down in other countries. Insects are high in fiber, protein, vitamins and minerals.

Yeah, grasshoppers, beetles, cicadas, caterpillars! Bees are considered a gourmet’s dream.

I’m a guy who irritates a good friend because I won’t eat raw oysters.

I feel like President George Bush the First who said of broccoli, “I do not like broccoli and I haven’t liked it since I was a little kid and my mother made me eat it. And I’m President of the United States, and I’m not going to eat any more broccoli.”

I hope I’ll be forgiven for passing up French-fried grasshoppers. As for escargots, a snail by any other name is still a snail, no matter its price on the menu.

Snow: 919-836-5636 or asnow@newsobserver.com

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