Usually when I am out in the garden, I don't pay much attention to birds flitting from tree to tree. When I was living on the streets, birds were "dinner on the wing" so to speak but since my rehabilitation, I no longer think of these feathered creatures as meals. So I ignore them. But on this particular day I couldn't ignore the sparrow that was sitting in the grass, its feet stuck out in front of him, his wings rubbing at his eyes. Wails of agony poured forth from his beak.
"Whatever is the matter, bird?" I meowed to the sparrow. "You are so distraught!"
The sparrow ruffled up his feathers. "You'd be distraught too, if you were me, which you aren't because you are a cat and you wouldn't understand my situation because of how and where you live..." chirped the bird.
I shrugged my shoulders. "Give it a try. Maybe I will understand. Did something terrible happen? Tell me about it!"
The bird stared at me. "I've been robbed! Something broke into my home and took everything I own! Everything I hold dear is gone! Do you know what that means? Everything I worked so hard for in my entire life is gone! Someone or something who has no regards for the belongings of others, made off with my treasures! All the twigs are gone! All the dead leaves are gone! All the feathers which I pulled out from my butt and used to insulate the nest are gone. All I have left is a sore butt! Everything is gone!"
"I'm not sure what value I could place upon your treasures, if that is what a pile of twigs and leaves are called, but I'm sure you will be able to replace them before the first snowfall," I purred.
The bird snorted. "You just don't understand, kitty! My fiancee brought over the contents of her hope chest thinking it would be safe at my place. It was a collection of loose feathers from her mom and dad and siblings. They're irreplaceable! That's what they are! Irreplaceable!"
"Well," I suggested, "I could pull out some of my fur and get some of the cats in the neighborhood to do the same and maybe that could replace the stock of feathers from your fiancee's relatives."
Again, the bird's feathers ruffled up, making the creature look twice his size. "Cat fur cannot replace the allure of loose feathers! All is lost! She will never forgive me! She'll probably not want to go ahead with the wedding!"
"Exactly where do you live?" I asked.
"Up there," replied the sparrow, pointing a wing at a wooden structure attached to the big maple tree.
"You live in that little house?" I meowed. "My person cleaned it out this morning and threw the contents in the garbage can. He cleans all the houses every spring and fall."
"Oh, the fates are against me!" wailed the sparrow. "My insurance company won't pay for losses caused by willfull human damage! All is lost! We will no longer be able to watch our huge television set with the two inch diagonal screen and listen to the glorious music of our surround sound entertainment center!"
I was bewildered. "You have a television set with a two inch diagonal screen in that little wooden house?" I asked.
"Not exactly," the bird chirped. "It's a cell phone I found over by the park. Some kid dropped it and my friends and I carried it back here. It's amazing what great reception that thing has!"
"Since the bird houses were cleaned this morning, why didn't you let my person know that your house was occupied. He is a kind person and would never have removed all your household goods."
The sparrow looked somewhat sheepish. "I wasn't home this morning. I went out last night with some of my buddies and sort of didn't get home until early this afternoon."
"I thought birds roosted at night," I remarked. (I had been reading up on bird behavior) "Why did you not get home by this morning?"
The sparrow really looked very guilty. "Some of the boys had a bachelor party for me over in the park. We got a little away with the drinking and all. Forgot what time it was and by the time the sun began to rise I was too bombed out to fly home, so I roosted in a tree near the park."
Being a tom cat and having had some pretty wild nights of my own, I decided to get my neighbor Max to come over and help me gather some twigs and dead leaves to replace those my person had removed from the bird's home. It didn't take very long even though the sparrow was rather critical of our efforts.
"Not that one!," he'd chirp. "That one isn't a very good leaf. Throw it away!" To me, one twig or dead leaf looks like all other twigs and dead leaves, but then I was there to help. Is is Thanksgiving Day you know and a large slab of turkey will be offered to me and my housemates within a few hours.
Happy Thanksgiving to You All!!!
from Helen, Sidney, Stella and me,
Henri of Twin Brook!

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