A sad day here at Jasperwood. This may strike some as silly or overwrought or the epitome of the exaggerations that characterize an untroubled life, but what can I say? It happened.
The birds left the nest. One day they were scrawny beaks cheeping incessantly when the parent showed up with grub (which was, probably, grub) and then they were big, too big for the nest, it seemed. Then they were out! When I came home from work and looked up - the nest is directly kitty-corner from where I sit - I saw one sitting on the beam:
The other three were gone. One returned. One parent returned with some food, out of duty. Sara was worried that the one on the beam would have to fly low to get out, once it tried to fly, and I told her not to worry. Literally, don’t worry about birds. It’s not like Natalie is out for the first time with a driver’s license.
We were sitting around after dinner chatting in the gazebo, when the bird decided to try. It fluttered down, and perhaps it was a foot too low because its starting point wasn’t way up in the trees.
Birch got it.
I mean, why wouldn’t he? It’s moving, it’s alive, it’s small, it’s right there, it’s the chance to get a bird, and he took it. I chased him and he dropped the bird - wasn’t the morsel he expected, maybe, too feathery, ick. The poor bird laid on the grass and I could tell he was a goner.
Well, Sara was inconsolate, and I understand, and felt the same way. We’d watched these guys from the start of the nest to their great escape into the world, and felt protective of them as you do with anything alive and non-invasive and interesting. You can’t be mad at the dog, but of course you’re dismayed when NATURE asserts itself in its usual calculations and indifference.
What was the worst, perhaps, was that all the other members of the robin family were around, it seemed, the other hatchlings and the parents, because from every direction there was a wild mad chatter of dismay and distress - fury, fear, anger, whatever rote noise the situation provoked. It was, to be honest, a horrible, damning sound.
I tried to say some consoling things - three out of the four made it! We don’t know if this one would’ve been picked off by a hawk out of our sight. And so on.
I note now, sitting in the gazebo, that there are two still hanging around in a nearby tree. If they are the hatchlings. Of course they are birds and do not remember any of this, for which you’re glad.
The nest is empty. I suppose I’ll glove up and take it down tomorrow, although my wife will probably want to do it. I know that whenever she sees a robin around here this summer, she’ll think it was one of the ones that hatched up there and made for a fortnight of watching them grow, and she’ll think of the one that didn’t make it.
The mother - if it is the mother - just appeared and sat on the edge of a chair and cheeped, looking around. It just flew to a tree and did the same, then flew to another tree and cheeped some more.
Then it flew away.
SHEER YOUTH TERROR.
||Worst 90 minutes of your life, you’d think. Absolute worst.
The rest of the front page has a story about a man in Florida who tackled some shoe-store shoplifters, complete with pictures, and a local story on the Lions Club teaching rifle safety to children. Also, the local House failed to relax the pot laws, and Nixon commits to a new phase of US involvement in Cambodia.
It’s a familiar world, sometimes only by the inversion of things. The local clubs would be assailed for taking rifles to a school for lessons, and the shoplifter who was strenuously tackled would, of course, go free. We know he’d go free. You can do that now. You can just steal.
Odd style on the jumps -
The lead editorial:
The reason? It’s a gateway drug, and leads you to H. The editorial has the eternal style of the elder mocking the young:
Brave cartoon here:
All those violent hardhats, destroying government buildings with their pipe-wrenches.
<jefffoxworthyvoice> . . . yew might be a Cajun
This 2015 encomium notes that Glenn Q was a young fellow when he had this job, and would soon go into the Air Force for four years. Inducted into the Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame.
HELP MY HEAD IS STUCK ON THIS DRAWING
Service can be had by ringing Norris Shexnaider.
Lots of X names in this part of the country.
Okay. A nationally syndicated beauty column, regularly illustrated by “Lali.” Many examples abound, and are no more compelling.
Berry’s World, always one of the best rendered stripes on the page.
Bum #2 was correct to be concerned.
That'll do - see you around! We're done with the Fifties for the rest of the year. Time to look at some other decades.