Caged Birds and Humble Pie - The Missourian: Features People

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Caged Birds and Humble Pie

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Posted: Wednesday, January 9, 2013 5:00 am

It was a birds and bees kind of evening. My Book Buzz buddy Dawn had stopped by for a cup of tea. Thank goodness we checked the label on the cream carton. Our visit was as overdue as the expiration date.

The tea was nice, so was the conversation and the opportunity to catch up with Dawn’s daughter, Bailey, home from college for Christmas break. She’ll graduate from Mizzou this May, but there are life lessons her instructors haven’t covered.

They’ve taught Bailey to take wing, but she knows nothing about corralling a bird on the wing. That was apparent last Wednesday night.

We didn’t have time to Google “How to Catch a Bird in the House,” when Spark came in the garage door, said hi to Dawn and Bailey, and zipped out the front door to switch on the Christmas lights. Oh, we should have known.

We’ve had other birds take cover in the wreath on our front door but none have found the battery-operated fake pine one with the pink, purple and blue lights particularly alluring. Our feathered interloper must have been longing for Las Vegas.

I’ve never seen four people move so fast in my life. Dawn and Spark were the heroes you need in a crisis. Bailey on the other hand held her blond head and dashed toward the laundry room.

Who could blame her? There was something sur-real and alarming about a bird darting around, scared to death, flinging itself against the windows. Tippi Hedren’s blonde, and she wouldn’t have liked it either.

Bailey and I finally found a way to be of some use. We planted ourselves in front of the two doorways to the vaulted living room, waving our arms like windmills. We needed to do something — Dawn and Spark were chasing the bird around ready to throw a sheet over it when it landed, all the while being careful not to injure the terrified creature.

Dawn netted the nester on the screened-in porch and nearly went boots-up on the icy back steps. I was grateful for her youth and agility and really wanted to call the “bird buster” back to the house at midnight when that same bird, or a different one, got inside again.

How on earth could that happen, you might ask. I’d wonder the same thing. After our company left, I suggested to my significant other that it might be a good idea to take down the Christmas wreath in case the bird came back.

“I’d like to leave it up until we take the outside lights down,” he said. I bit my tongue and headed for a book, as he elaborated from the other room, “I’ll just slam the door back and forth a bit before I open it to scare the bird away, if it’s there.”

Around midnight I was eating my last bowl of granola and walnuts before my New Year’s diet, when I heard the door bang shut repeatedly, followed by “There’s a bird in the house,” and the sound of heavy shoes on the hall floor as Spark rushed to get another sheet.

This time the bird hid under a table before lifting up and away, roosting momentarily on the crown molding near the living room ceiling. We ran to close the bedroom doors and open the front door in hopes it would let itself out. Which is what it did — in record time.

No doubt the bird took pity on Spark, who was subjected to a string of “I told you so’s” by you know who, a wife of 40-plus years who shamefacedly went back to her granola, feeling like the biggest jerk in the world when her husband silently went outside to remove the Christmas wreath.

“Bye, bye, birdie” — “hello, guilt and apologies.” I’m eating humble pie in the new year. I hope the taste is bitter enough to stay with me.

/features_people