Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Caw, caw, caw

            Nearly two weeks go I was awakened around six a.m. by a crow sitting on a wire near an open window in my bedroom.  Last year some crows had learned that if they sat in a tree across the street and yelled for awhile, I’d come out on our balcony and throw peanuts in the shell out into the street for them.  This must have been a remnant of that mob.  “Caw, caw, caw!” he yelled.  “Caw, caw, caw!”  Though annoyed, I obediently got out of bed and found what was left of the unshelled peanuts in a ZipLoc bag and went out in slippers and nightgown to feed him.  The next morning he was back.
            One morning it rained and he didn’t come, but this instantly became his custom: he’d call around six and I’d respond.  (Then I’d go back to bed and sleep till seven or seven-thirty.)
            Then last Thursday and Friday we went to St. Cloud for a quilt show, and it broke the chain; he didn’t come Saturday and Sunday.  But Monday: “Caw, caw, caw!”  I’m not really sure why I respond to his peremptory summons, why I am amused to obey – but I do and I am.
            But: On Monday he brought a friend, and at nine o’clock a half dozen crows turned up, and called from the trees across the street.  I understand crows can communicate with one another.  Has my early-morning pal told his friends?  And should I invest in a bigger bag of peanuts?
            This morning he was late, it was nearly seven before he turned up, and this time he had two more crows with him – and four more came soon after.  What’s going on?  I don’t know.  Two of them are still out there, one cawing in a peculiar soft voice that sounds curiously like human speech.  But the daily feeding is over, fellows, till tomorrow.
            The quilt show was fun.  I didn’t get much of a chance to go around and look at the gorgeous, magnificent, beautiful, amazing quilts on display, because I’m still not able to walk any great distance, even with a walker, and this was a BIG show.  But what I did see impressed me tremendously.  If you ever hear of a quilt show in your area (say, less than three hours’ distance), go. You won’t be sorry.
            We sold quite a lot of books.  I sat with fellow mystery author Arlene Sachitano (she writes quilting mysteries – has nine titles – for a very small publisher) who was great company.  And her books are very well written.  Linne Lindquist and her husband Jack own The Craftsman’s Touch, a small company that sells quilting books and patterns out of Bemidji, MN, and at quilt shows all over the country.  They’ll be in Houston in, I think, November and want me to come down.  I’ve been before, that show is HUGE.  And I’ll have a new book to push.
            Ellen is putting together collections of my previously-published short stories to be published as slender (+60,000 words) e-books.  Some feature Betsy Devonshire, some stand alone, some feature characters from my first series (Peter and Kori Brichter), some feature Father Hugh of Paddington, Mass Priest at Deer Abby, some are Minnesota small town mysteri Ellen and I wrote together.  Some of them are pretty good.  It’s been good to look back and see how many there are. 


Linda O. Johnston said...

I love your description of your interaction with your crow friend and his friends!

Betty Hechtman said...

I've been fascinated with Crows ever since I watched a PBS show about them and it demonstrated how they recognize human faces.