My friend, and speech therapist extraordinaire, Anne Bruce came by this morning for a cup of coffee. She is a keen birder and enjoys sitting on her verandah early in the morning with a cup of tea and her binoculars, seeing what she can see. She was telling me about some of the birds she has spotted and something about the tone of her voice or the enthusiasm she has for the subject reminded me of my Mom. She was also passionately fond of birds and had feeders outside our kitchen window and sacks of seed in our broom closet and piles of guides in our library.
With seven children and three grandparents to look after, she didn't get many opportunities to sit on the verandah but she made the most of whatever chances she did have. When we were small, she discovered that our mailman was also a bird-watcher. Every morning when he would deliver the post, they would trade stories of what they had seen recently and we children, I suppose, took in the mysterious names they discussed without even realizing it.
One day Mary, age four and very unhappy, complained bitterly to Mom about her lot in life: "Nobody loves me," she said tearfully. "Not even a female finch."