Tuesday, August 08, 2006

What Have I Done?

I am giving piano lessons to a nine year old boy. I have written about him before and how he is a Norman Rockwell designed, stereotypical American boy.

About two weeks ago, at the end of his piano lesson, his mother and I were talking and she commented that he is able to catch live birds with his bare hands. I questioned this remark. "He catches birds? Are they sick and dying? Does he use a trap?"

She calmly replied, "No. They're healthy, and he catches them with his bare hands. I think he sneaks up on them or waits for them. He'll spend a long time just waiting, and then he just grabs them, and I think he has caught about three in the last couple of weeks."

I questioned this again. "How is that possible? How can you catch a bird? They're too fast!"

The little boy volunteered his strategy. "They're not that fast. The birds move slow for a second. You can catch 'em when they're takin' off."

I was pretty amazed..............and skeptical. I looked the Mom square in the eye and asked, "Did you see one of these birds he caught?"

Very offhandedly she replied, "Oh yeah. They were just normal birds, and I saw all three of them. He showed them to everybody. They were alive and unhappy, but he held onto them and then he turned them loose. They flew away. He didn't hurt them."

That stuck in my head. Here is a kid who is a throwback to an old fashioned American boy. He plays with swords made out of plastic PVC pipe and the walls in his house show wear and tear from hard playing. In his front yard is a giant sycamore tree, and way up at the top are a few toys, and you ask him what they are and he says, "Those are my supplies when I am in the crow's nest!" Pretty amazing for a modern day kid.

Now remember, I'm a bit of a knucklehead, and so after his piano lesson this week I nonchalantly asked, "Can you catch me a bird?" He said, "Yeah. You want a bird?" I replied, "Yeah. Catch me a bird. I want a brown one about this big." I then held up my thumb and forefinger about four inches apart.

What was I thinking? If I wasn't shootin' at the poor creatures with a BB gun when I was a kid, I am ordering up their capture at the hands of Red Chief. Poor little birds. And what do I do with the poor, feathered creature when he catches it? What have I done?

I'll let you know if he actually "takes care of my order."

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