by Ruth, a.k.a. Momma Frizzle
Blairsville, Ga. — Today’s front-porch conversation revolved around birds. As we ate sandwiches together, we watched the feeders hanging in Grandpa’s front flower bed.
My eldest and most avid bird watcher correctly identified American Gold Finches. The state bird of New Jersey, her Grandpa informed us. But much more common here in the north Georgia mountains than in his home state.
My husband was the first to spy a Ruby-Throated Hummingbird darting between the hibiscus and butterfly bush. Quite large, he observed. “I visited the Arizona Desert Museum in Tucson,” Grandpa informed us. “There’s a hummingbird aviary with all the different species.”
And what are those brown birds everywhere? Just common House Finches, Grandpa informed us. “Notice how they stay on the feeders and eat, while the Carolina Chickadees dart in and out taking seed back to their nests,” he asked.
It’s right that Grandpa knows more than us and fills in the gaps of our knowledge. He’s spent decades honing his skills. He planted and tended that flower garden. He fed those birds through snowy winter holidays.
Grandpa and birds are connected in other ways as well. An invitation to go bird-watching was one of his early dates with Grandma. But it was his flashy red convertible that interested the newly immigrated co-ed, more than the birds she might see.
Which reminds me of an observation my sensitive 8-year-old daughter made earlier this afternoon, “It’s just so interesting how God made the male of the birds prettier — at least I think prettier — than the females,” she said.
Why do you think that is? I asked. “God made the male peacock more beautiful-ler than the female so he could kind of show off,” she informed me.
And so it is that I’m thankful for Grandpa’s bird watching. Providentially, it gave me my husband and children, and interesting front porch conversations.