Tuesday, March 26, 2013

A Bird In The Hand...

Yesterday was a blustery day here in Georgia.  It was cool, but not cold.  The wind, though, made it pretty chilly.  Pam had the day off from work and we decided to make it a "down" day, but we still needed to take the dogs to the dog park to run and exercise and to get really tired out so all they'd do is to sleep the rest of the day on the boat.   We got them off the boat and up the dock, and I was putting Olivia in the back of Audrey (our Kia Sorento.  See previous post) when I heard Pam mumble something from afar.

No, I don't have a hearing problem.  An issue facing this nation is that people mumble way too much.

I didn't quite make it out, so I continued getting Olivia secured in the back of Audrey when I faintly heard Pam mumble with more urgency, and I thought I made out the word "scissors".   Scissors?  Being a guy, my brain was trying to process this bit of input and to either make sense of the word scissors, or to find a word that scissors would rhyme with which is what she really meant.  Nope.  I came up with nothing.  I should investigate.

I looked around.  Pam was nowhere to be seen.  I traced the route from Audrey to the pavilion at the head of the dock, down the dock to Drift Away.  No Pam.  Did she fall off the dock and into the water and was calling for help?  Help that included scissors?  I quickly decided that was unlikely, but possible, and so thought it would be best to head back in that direction.  Then I saw Pam part way down the embankment, hunched over something with Chevy staring at her.  I trotted over.

"It's a bird!", Pam shouted.  "It's caught up in this fiberglass stuff.  Go get some scissors!".

Aha!  See, I don't  have a hearing problem!  I quickly hied myself to the boat and grabbed scissors and the camera.  Something like this must be documented in photographs.

Part way up the dock, I stopped to take the first photos.  Chevy looked at me with an air of disdain, a look of "What the hell are you doing?  Put the camera down and bring scissors!  And a treat!".

I did (not the treat) and Pam cut away at the fiberglass cloth trapping the bird.  She had the bird in her right hand and was trying to use the scissors to cut with her left.  If you've never tried to do that, stop reading.  Go get some scissors and a piece of paper and try to cut it.   See?  It doesn't work.

So, realizing that I would now have to do the right thing, as icky as that might be, I offered to help.  Sadly, Pamela thought that would be a good idea.  So I set the camera down, scootched beside Pam, and took the bird from her so she could cut the fiberglass with scissors in her right hand.

Rip rap had been placed on the embankment years ago, and under the stone was fiberglass cloth to prevent erosion.  It's springtime here in Georgia, so I can only surmise that the bird, a very pretty European Starling, an illegal immigrant admonished by political threats to "go back where you came from", might have been looking for nesting material and had gotten snagged up in the frayed, tattered ends of the fabric.

I noted that Mabel (her name was Mabel, she said) seemed very calm.  She must have been trapped for quite some time and sensed that we were trying to help her.  She laid very still in my hand.  Was she relaxed, or having a heart attack, or a bird stroke?  I've heard that birds will die of fear if you catch one.  Hmm... now that I think about it, that may have been my mom that told me that when I was small.

In any event, Pam soon had the bird cut loose.

Mabel was free of the fiberglass cloth, but still had a big wad of it wound around her leg.  So we took her down to the boat where we could work on it out of the 30 MPH wind.  I gingerly held Mabel while Pam carefully cut away at the fiberglass cloth tightly wound around her leg.  She was using those itty bitty scissors that we guys have no idea what they're used for, but every woman has a pair.

My mind wandered.  A pair of scissors?  That's one of those idiosyncrasies of the English language that make no sense, like a pair of underwear and a pair of glasses.  Did whomever invent the English language do this to be difficult?   Or did they have a weird sense of humor?  I wonder who invented words?  Did a blacksmith in ancient times hammer out a new tool and declared "I shall call these... scissors!   And not "a scissors, but a pair of them, even thought there's only one!"  That bastard.

Pam said something and I was back in the present.

I had Mabel on her back, and gently stroked her head with my thumb while Pam worked.  Mabel closed her eyes.  Was she having a bird stroke?  Or was she exhausted and falling asleep?

Soon, Pam was done.  At this point, I would have flung Mabel out the door while singing "BORN FREE, AS FREE AS THE WIND BLOWS..."

That would have been me.  That was not Pam.  She was concerned that Mabel was exhausted and would be easy prey for... well, our dogs for one.  Pam thought Mabel might need time to recover.   She got a Tupperware container and placed a small bowl of water in it and a dishtowel.  Then she got some dog food and ground it up and placed that inside.  I set Mabel inside the box and Pam put the lid on.

"Shouldn't we poke holes in that?"  I queried?

Pam stuck the scissors under one end of the lid and  placed her purse on top to hold it down.  I looked inside.  Mabel was sitting on the edge of the water bowl, evaluating her situation.

We left her there to rest and took the dogs to the dog park, and then to the doggie car wash for a bath.  Yes, for you sane non-dog owners, there is such a thing.

With less odiferous canines, we returned to Drift Away to deposit the dogs and free Mabel.  We kept the dogs outside while we did this.  They were still wet, for one.  Second, if Mabel wasn't dead from a bird stroke already, she might be if confronted with three curious dogs.  We left the pack outside while we tended to Mabel on the inside.

Chevy needed to know what we were doing and parked himself on the helm seat to see what was going on.  Is that a toy??  A treat???  It's got feathers.  I love feathers.

Chevy is one of those dogs that actually smiles.

We peeked in the Tupperware box.  Mabel looked perky.  All of the dog food was gone, and there was bird crap on the towel and water bowl.  Her digestive system seemed to be functioning properly, always a good thing, unless you own the towel and the bowl.

We took Mabel up to the pavilion, which was dog-free.  Pam reached in and took Mabel out.  Pam wondered if Mabel would be OK.  We didn't know how long she was trapped.  She could be totally exhausted.  And her feathers looked to be a bit worn.   Would she even be able to fly?

Mabel gave Pam a quick look of approval and was gone in a blink of an eye.


  1. You really need to be writing books Dave! You'd be a best seller, along with being a world renowned (sp???) photographer!!!