“. . .All it takes is tuppence from you
Feed the birds, tuppence a bag
Tuppence, tuppence, tuppence a bag
Feed the birds,” that’s what she cries
While overhead, her birds fill the skies. . .”
Lyrics from Feed the Birds / Mary Poppins
(no this is not a bird / Julie Cook / 2015)
Tuppence, two pence, pennies on the dollar—that’s what it once cost to feed the birds.
A handful of bread or grain sold by a simple street vendor to be tossed out to the pigeons, who would descend en masse, happily and greedily gobbling up nary last crumb.
Today’s birds seem to have more expensive taste.
Kind of like everyone and everything else these days—some sort of bird inflation I suppose.
I paid $12.99 at Target for a sack of black oiled sunflower seeds this week, that being the sale price. A sack which fills dad’s entire feeder.
I buy my birds the nut and fruit seeds which are even more expensive.
It wouldn’t be any big deal I suppose but it’s a lot more than just birds eating the feed and that sack of Dad’s won’t last 3 days. There will be days that my birds will have to go without as they like to eat me out of house and home. And it wouldn’t be that bad had the grackles not moved in and the raccoons hadn’t figured out how to open all the feeders in the middle of the night cleaning me out of house and home.
But Dad is a different story, his birds may not go without.
I filled his feeder up last Thursday.
The feeder was empty as of Tuesday.
The phone rings and I see it’s dad calling.
I break out in a cold sweat as I fear the worst. . .one of them is down for the count and can’t get up and I need to call an ambulance and come quick.
But yesterday’s call, thankfully, was not that sort of call.
“Julie, when you come up tomorrow, how ’bout picking me up some bird feed, we’re all out”
I bought it yesterday Dad.
“Oh, you’ve got some already?”
Yes Dad, that’s what I said.
“Will you bring it with you?”
Yes Dad, it’s already in the car.
“So you’re bringing it with you?”
“When are you coming?
TOMORROW. . .
This conversation lasts a while. . .
There are the cute little chipmunks at his house who scurry about on the back porch, below the feeder, scrounging for dropped seed. . . so cute. . .
Or that’s what I thought until I watched the chipmunk
scamper scale up the brick, dashing tearing its way up the screen and precariously
jumping onto the feeder. . .Hummmm. . .
What a cleaver little sweet creature. . .hummmmm
“Dad, the chipmunks are climbing the house to get to the bird food. . .
“Oh I know I just love watching them, aren’t they cute. . .
Hummmmm. . .
(the chipmunk birdseed stealer as seen from Dad’s kitchen window / Julie Cook / 2015)
And yet there are other, more sinister varmints feasting on my hard bought feed.
I was sitting in the den with dad watching one of his never ending 1930 black and white movies when suddenly a loud bamming and booming hits the roof.
Followed by a sound of someone or something ripping the screens off the sunroom porch window frames.
DAD!!??? WHAT IN THE WORLD???!!!”
“Oh, that’s the squirrel.
He just loves the bird food”
Racing out to the porch to see what has attempted to tear part of the house off its foundation, I spy a giant grey squirrel hanging upside down from the gutter reaching his body out, stiff as a board, away from the house and grasping the feeder. I believe they call that sort of stunt planking.
The birds are now noisily perched in the trees expressing their great disdain for this usurper.
I proceed to watch this greedy grey acrobat race from the bush, to the gutter, to the screen, to the feeder over and over for the remainder of the afternoon.
Never allowing a single bird to gather near.
You should know that this squirrel is as big as a very large house cat. With the fullest prettiest tail I’ve ever seen on a squirrel. Not so for neighboring squirrels who are scrawny and lean.
Dad’s squirrel is super squirrel and he loves this squirrel.
Actually my dad loves all animals.
Not that I don’t, I certainly do but I do not give money to every organization on television who uses those sad big brown eyes staring back at me while Sarah McLachlan is sadly singing “In the arms of the angel”
This is a man who unknowingly, or knowingly as it depends on who you ask, has been giving money to what some have deemed a terrorist organization— PETA.
Not that giving money to animal rights activists is a bad thing, but the whole activist wording leaves me a bit nervous. People who kill other people because of animal violations scare me just a bit. Not that I haven’t wanted to beat people senseless who abuse animals, but to act in an organized vigilante sort of kill or be killed mentality just makes me, like I say, nervous.
I didn’t know about his
funneling giving generously of money until I took over paying his bills. He had letter upon letter from PETA sitting in the black hole of an office, aka my old bedroom, when he was at his worst–just getting the mail and putting it away, never to look at it again—hence why I finally had to take over—it was either that or the IRS was going to put him in jail. Plus I feared PETA may send strong-armed big men out to get their annual, hush money, donation.
So now, we are no longer
funneling giving away money except to the power company, the phone company, the gas company, the insurance company, the care service as well as to the Government. . .
And of course to big fat grey squirrels as I’m now off to buy yet another bag of feed to take up later this week.
At 26 bucks a week, I just may need to take out a tuppence loan in order to feed the birds. . .
(a small mess remains from the birds and squirrel / Julie Cook / 2015)