Saturday, December 1

3 Days of the Crow

What is the method? What is the cure?

We feel so sorry for his dismay ~

But it’s not our fault a stupid bird

Got stuck in the chimney today.

“Papa, oh can’t you get him out?” we cried.

He prodded, he poked, he climbed on the roof.

Nothing worked, no matter what he tried.

Our troubled friend beseeched from the flue.

As each day passed, his crow voice diminished

Cawing desperately, plaintively,

Then barely squawking ‘til it was finished.

By the fourth day something emitted faintly –

Then much stronger as the sun blazed away,

A new thing replacing that bird retired;

A stench, a gag – rot and decay!

We bowed our heads~while dad stoked the fire.

* The common American Crow is truly a regal looking jet-black bird, and with his larger close cousin the Raven is the most intelligent of all the bird species. Long considered an agricultural pest, there are more ways to bait, trap and kill this very successful creature than seem decent to innumerate.

The urban crows we grew up with were highly social with each other, as they are want to do – and it seemed, with us. I even had a pet crow I named “Orrin” for my dad’s middle name; a fact I thought was especially honorable but my father did not. He had a voracious appetite for anything we were eating, any time. Orrin lived indoors with me until he began to attempt flying. When I took him outside for practice runs, both of his parents swooped down very close to loudly encourage his efforts. I swear I saw love returned in his beady, clever little eye.

I have lived all of my adult life so far in a part of the Sonoran Desert that does not host crows or ravens of any variety. I miss their raucous laughter in the trees, and their wily, obnoxious and ever so endearing ways.


Oh, how I loved her,

I absolutely had to have her ~

the new Thumbelina doll on T.V.

that moved like a real baby

when you turned a dial on her back!

Imagine my chagrin, when

after Santa actually brought her, that

she was too ugly for words ~

and I would much rather climb trees,

catch horney toads

or suck sour-grass sap,

than have charming Thumbelina

writhe luridly in my lap.

* American marketing campaigns in the weeks and months before Christmas were like a direct television brain-wash. Those magnanimous giants Mattel and Ideal were committed to prevent the tragedy of a child waking up Christmas morning deprived of that one, crucial product that could have changed their entire life course!

My craving for this doll was all consuming. The only thing I ever wanted more than a Thumbelina doll was a horse. Who could have guessed that in the “getting”, her pink plastic and rubber features would be as profoundly repulsive as my former desire was acute?

Ideal Toys debuted the sleeping Thumbelina doll in 1964. I saw recently in a magazine that the Sears catalog offered her for $5.99 that debut year. In 2007 she is now a valued “vintage” toy going for as much as $519.99 on eBay. I guess I shouldn’t have dumped her ~ and guess what? She's still ugly.

~ excerpts from 'Station Wagon Wars', growing up in the 60's by CTanner

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