That Blessed Bird

Thoughts of a quiet evening crept into Pam Winters mind. Hours of gardening made her ache. She rubbed the small of her back, grabbed the evening paper, and dropped onto the family room sofa. As she scanned the front page, she heard a commotion. "Mom, there is a blessed hawk in here," Jeff said.

Ignoring him, Pam continued reading. Jeff was up to his usual nonsense. He wished he would grow up. Pam refused to fall for his latest trick.

Just yesterday, he had tried to drive her new car and managed to crunch the front fender and also moved the back of the garage out two feet. She had grounded him for two weeks. "Mom, Hollered again, come here."

She got up, slammed the paper under the coffee table and marched out into the hallway.

"Duck, Mom," Jeff screamed.

"Criminy, what's that?" Pam crouched down, her hands covering her head.

"Beats me," Jeff said as Pam looked up. "I think it's a blessed hawk."

Flapping its wings, the frightened bird lurched toward the ceiling, dripping blood onto the carpet. Jeff, his brown curls poking out from under a baseball cap, stalked behind the bird ready to whack it with a golf club.

"Don't hurt him, Pam said." How did he get in here anyhow?"

"I don't know. I was studying when I heard the strange noise. I looked up and saw this giant hawk fly past.

"It's the pheasant, not a hawk," she said ducking again as it circled overhead.

The dizzy pheasant spiraled around the hallway, then entered the dining room. It dived up and down back up and finally landed on the mahogany buffet table. The pheasant spread its colorful wings, then tucked them at his sides. He sat still. Jeff tiptoed into the room with a brown paper bag. "I'll get it," he said, lunging after the bird.

"No," shouted Pam too late. Jeff tripped over the golf club he had left on the floor and fell into the hutch across the room. Tiny slivers of glass sprayed in every direction. "Oh, no, not my crystal glass. You idiot! You have broken my engraved champagne glass."

"Jeez, Mom, I'm sorry."

The bird flapped its wings, then settled back into a frightened stance.

"Go to your room," Pam told him, "and learn to pick up those big feet of yours,"

Just then the front door burst open. Sarah charged into the house and crashed into Jeff. "Watch it twerp," he said.

"What's with the doinky cao," she asked him.

"For your information, little sister, we have an unwanted guest. Some dumb bird," he said pointing to the buffet," and I am not taking any chances. Who knows what that bird might drop on my head." Sarah rolled her eyes.

Seeing the broken glass and the dazed bird, Sarah asked, "What's going on around here?"

"Who knows," Pam said. "Some wild bird is perched in here and your clumsy brother just broke our engagement gift."

"Want me to come in and clean up the mess?" Jeff yelled from his room.

"No, absolutely not I have to figure out how to get this as an outside, and you will just cause more trouble."

"Maybe we should just fix up the guest room for the bird," Sarah said.

"Don't tease, not now. I've had it. Your Dad is out of town and I've already had seventeen things go wrong today.

"You could call Mr. James from down the street. He likes birds," Sarah said.

"Good idea," Pam said., Picking up the phone. "Frank, this is Pam Winters. I have this pheasant in my house. Yes I said a pheasant. Could you come over? Could you help get it out? Frank agreed to come.

"Mom," Sarah yelled from down the hall, "my room's a mess. That dumb bird crashed through my window. There's broken glass everywhere. Blood, too. And my desk. Oh, yuck that dumb bird crapped

on my desk. It stinks!

Before Pam had time to react, Frank James was at the back door. She opened the door and said, pointing toward the dining room, "the bird is in there."

Frank picked up a small rug from the family room floor. He accidentally banged the door is he entered the dining room startling in the present. It flew toward the ceiling bounced off and landed on the floor. Rug in hand, Frank danced around like a toreador. He charging after the bird. The crazed pheasant shot back into the air

"I'm not staying in this house with a bird flipping out," said Sarah as she headed outside with a dish of chocolate ice cream.

"Frank may like birds," Pam thought ," but he's more birdwatcher then bird catcher.? "Be careful Pam said as Frank shook the rug in front of the pheasant the bird did a tailspin splattered the walls with blood from his reopened wound.

"Did the bird do this?" asked Frank jumping over the broken glass.

"No," said Pam as she reached down and carefully picked up slivers from the carpet.

"Jeff, get in here. You can vacuum as soon as we get the bird out." There was no answer. Just then the doorbell rang.

"Hello," said Hilda Drake, who lived next door. "Sarah tells me you have a pheasant in the house. How did he get in?"

"He crashed through Sarah's window. Can you believe that?

"Can I help,? Hilda said.

"Sure join the circus."

Hilde shuffled her plump body into the living room where Frank stood frozen in his toreador stance amid falling chairs and overturn plants. "Wait," Hilda said, looking down at the frightened bird. "Poor little thing, your plumb worn out aren't you? She reached down and struck the pheasant on the back. Murmuring softly, she lifted the bird into her arms.

"Well, jeepers would you look at that," said a surprised Frank. The exhausted bird and its head against Hilda's ample bosom. She continued to pet the bird as she headed outside with Frank following.

"Jeff," Pam called out again as Sarah came running back into the house. "Go get your brother for me right now," Pam said to Sarah.

"Mom," Sarah said when she returned, "he's not in his room.. He's not anywhere."

A worried look crossed Pam face. She ran to the back of the house the Sarah following. They watched as he told us that the present down under the spruce tree.

"You should have seen her," Pam said as they taped corrugated paper over Sarah's broken window and cleaned up the broken glass. "Hilda wasn't at all afraid.

"Where's Jeff, Mom?

"I don't know," Pam said. Her head pounded. You had better get started on your homework.

Sitting down, Pam laid her head back and brushed her chestnut hair away from her face. She thought about Hilda, about how calmly she had reacted. And she thought about Jeff. Where was he? It wasn't like him to just leave. She couldn't have pretended she wasn't upset when he broke her glass. Who knew if they could find another one after 18 years? Where did he go? With him the problems never ended.

She got up she couldn't ignore the mess in the house any longer. Taken a damp rank, she wiped the blood off the walls and scrubbed off the carpet it would have to be steam cleaned. The blood wasn't coming out. "Poor bird, she thought." He didn't mean to make such a mess. What am I saying? MR for giving the bird, but not my own son?"

Just then the phone rang. "Mom, could you come get me?"

"Yes, of course, Jeff. Where are you?"

"Out on old Miller Road. I walked to Mike's house just to talk to Mike and his mom, but no one was at home. So I walked to the neighbors. That's where I'm calling from."

"Be right there,' she said hanging up ."Sarah, Jeff is at Mike's place. I'm going over to get him. I will be right back."

On the drive over, Pam thought about Jeff and how he had grown 5 inches in the last year."

He has changed so much she thought. The poor kid probably thinks I don't love him that I love my belongings more than I love him that isn't true. Or, is it?" Love people. Use things." The words from the tape she had listened to it church echoed in her mind.

Searching the dark street, Pam ached to find Jeff. Finally she spotted him on the corner two houses away from Mike's house. She rolled down the window. "Get in the car before you freeze," she said. "You had me pretty worried."

I'm sorry, Mom," he said. It seems like I am always causing trouble lately, doing the wrong thing. " He talked and she listened. The seesaw he teetered on the between adolescence and adulthood became evident.

"I love you, Jeff," she said as they pulled into the garage, even when I'm upset with you. I love you more than my car and more than my special glass. You mean everything to me, and don't you ever forget that." She wiped a tear that trickleded down her cheek.

"Thanks, Mom." He smiled and pecked her cheek. "Did you get that blessed bird out of the house?"

"Not me. Hilda from next door did. She was amazing – So calm. I should be more like that. The bird didn't offer any resistance. Just let her pick him up and take him back outside.

"I'll clean up the mess now," Jeff said, as they walked toward the house.

"It is all done. Don't worry."

"Sorry, Mom, really."

"Me too,." Reaching up to hug him, she said, "you are worth more than a dozen crystal glasses."

He returned a hug. It was the first one sheet had from him in months. "You are still grounded," she said. "14 days to go. Now, go finish studying until Sarah good night"

"Sure, okay."

"And, Jeff," she said laughing ,"it was probably a good thing you wore your baseball. We found a real mess or two, one was on Sarah's desk"

Jeff howled

"Goodnight, twerp,"Jeff said as he rounded the corner to Sarah's room. "Hear that the blessed hawk left a present for you..


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