ANIMAL CRACKERS. I had noticed this particular nature item myself, but just didn’t think it was important enough to mention it. Then, someone mentioned to me.
What, she asked, are those birds I always hear when I’m in the drive-thru line at McDonald’s?
I don’t know, I answered.
Find out, she said.
I went to the trouble of looking/listening for the birds this weekend. It wasn’t so much that I was hungry, I drove thru the line purely in the pursuit of knowledge. I promise.
Sure enough, there were some big-ish black birds which flew in and out of the trees beside McDonald’s. When they perched on the overhead electric lines they frequently ‘spread’ their tail feathers and made quite a racket.
I don’t think they’re crows, but I sure don’t know what they are, I told myself.
So I asked our resident birder, John Balch, who informed me that the bird in question is the Boat-Tailed Grackle. The bird is not native to this area, but moved in this direction from the Gulf Coast. Curiously, the birds of this species that live along the Atlantic Coast have pale eyes; ‘ours’ have dark eyes.
They typically establish populations around fast food places, shopping malls and other banquet halls where they can forage for food in the parking lots and in the drive-thru lines. They like to sing for their supper. They apparently are especially fond of French fries spilled from supersized orders.
One of the noises they make sounds like a whistle.
Just joking about some of that.
ANOTHER INSTALLMENT in the rather large book I like to call “The World is an Itsy Bitsy Place.”
At the end of my visit with a Little Rock doc at the Old Fossil Male Clinic, last week, he sent me down the hall to have a blood sample drawn at a lab shared with other clinics.
A young blonde cutie escorted me to a small soundproofed room where the aforesaid blood drawing was to take place. And she was the one to do it. I braced myself.
She looked at the clipboard with my information. “Oh my goodness, you’re from Nashville? I am, too.”
Her name tag said Kasey F.
What does the F stand for, I asked, happy to have some distraction from that needle she dangled so casually.
Fant, she said.
It doesn’t take much to get me talking, so I told her that we could possibly be kin because my paternal grandmother was a Fant. “But she was an East Texas railroad Fant, and I don’t think I’m related to any of the Fants around Howard County,” I said.
She said her dad is Brent Fant and her mom is Tasha Fant, who is a dyslexia specialist with children in Nashville and Mineral Springs schools. Before doing that, Tasha taught second graders. I remembered getting lists of her honor roll students.
Since I wasn’t really anxious for Kasey to plunge that needle into my arm, I distracted her by talking more about Fants.
She laughed and said her father frequently mentioned a close relative named Ella. Kasey said she always thought it was a joke but finally was convinced that he really did have a relative who was named Ella Fant.
(Elephant — Ella Fant — for those of you who are moving your lips when you read.)
Kasey, I blurted out, MY Fant family also talked about a great aunt named Ella. They always chuckled about the name, but I always believed that she really existed.
Unfortunately, there’s no one left on my side of the family whom I can ask about Aunt Ella Fant.
Kasey is a Medical Assistant, and says she will soon be entering a college nursing program (Kasey’s mom also told me that she would not let her daughter practice sticking a needle in her arm).
After Kasey drew a couple of quarts of blood from my arm, I staggered out lightheaded into the hallway.
And right before my eyes was an old Mineral Springs buddy, Ronnie DeLoney. We got to visit for awhile, too. He claimed he was standing in line at the Distinguished Gentleman’s Clinic. It shares a lab with the Old Fossil Male Clinic.
He may have been pulling my leg.
THE GOOD EARTH. Well, maybe, not so good. Coupla years ago I planted a loquat tree in my side yard. I like the loquat, even though it’s messy, because it provides thick cover for patio birds. It’s had plenty of rain over the winter, but I’m afraid it may not be long for this earth.
THINGS I LEARNED from reading email: If all is not lost, then where the heck is it?
HE SAID: “To help yourself, you must be yourself. Be the best that you can be. When you make a mistake, learn from it, pick yourself up and move on.” DAVE PELZER, author
SHE SAID: “For me, singing sad songs often has a way of healing a situation. It gets the hurt out in the open into the light, out of the darkness.” REBA McENTIRE, singer
SWEET DREAMS, Baby