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REQUIEM FOR HENRY


crows 2

A barking dog can get your attention whether you are in the middle of a good movie or merely trying to fix a recurring computer problem. When they are in the house trying to get some action out of you, you do tend to get a bit churlish. Charlies’s frantic yelping interspersed with an occasional snarl got us on our feet yesterday, to find him under a hallway skylight window looking first up and then back at us with a “what’s the matter with you idiots?” look on his canine face.

There on top of the roof skylight lay a dark figure. prone and silent. I made out the shape of a beak on the left side of the silhouette, which told us a probable sad story of a loss of life.
Dr. Advice climbed up onto the roof to check it out the next morning only to come down empty handed. And yet the dark shadow remained.

Two days ago we had watched dozens of crows in the three large redwood trees flying crazily from tree to tree and back again. They are strange and mysterious birds anyway, so their behavior did nothing more than amuse us.

crows

My over active imagination visualized the funereal celebration the crowd of crows may have been having before they collected their lost brother from the top of our roof to transport him,…. where? Of course, it spoiled my own plans for a burial ceremony. With no body, how could there be a funeral?

Some of you may remember Henry, the sometime bane of Charlie’s and my life. Henry of the burnished black feathers and loud raucous voice who found great joy in aggravating our household by dive bombing the dog and then giving the rest of us the razzberry when we protested. He periodically washes his food in our birdbath making it inhospitable to all the other birds, and sometimes leaves trinkets he has stolen in the bottom of the bath water. But we had not seen nor heard of Henry for a few weeks, and though he had not been on our MIA list, I couldn’t help thinking of him when the rooftop shadow appeared.

Since the top of the skylight was empty, it left only one answer—-the indeterminate darkness must be inside the double layer of the skylight. The intrepid Doctor A. climbed the beanstalk to the base of the skylight, loosed a few screws and plop fell a large piece of paint off the side wall.

No Henry, no funeral, and now to repair the damage.

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16 comments on “REQUIEM FOR HENRY

  1. Because of lack of time (so insulting a statement, but without that intention), I am not acquainted with Henry – but he sounds like a bloke who wears a bow-tie and has false teeth. [grin]
    Great story ! I enjoyed it even though coming across Henry for the first time, Katy. Thank you !

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  2. Dr. Advice should not be climbing up beanstalks!
    Better a big paint chip than a dead crow.
    This morning, as we stared (and smelled) our newly paved driveway, the only creature allowed to be on it one day after it was sealed, was Dinah, the Labrador. Ron said, “What’s she got in her mouth?” God, it looked like a decapitated turkey. I yelled, ” Dinah, drop it. Here’s a treat!!” Miraculously, she dropped it, whereby, Ron ran out with gloves and a trash bag and picked up the carcass. “Doesn’t look like a turkey, Cheri.”

    That’s all he said. Not, “It looks like a buzzard or a hawk or anything.”

    I still have no idea what type of bird it was.

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    • Would you like to try to prevent Dr. A from climbing ladders or getting up on the roof? I have no success. A doctor down the street yelled at him one day to get off the ladder or he would see him in his office. Didn’t work.

      I’m glad Dinah didn’t eat the creature. We found a mangled rat the other day. Not sure if Charlie was his executioner.

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  3. Charlie must be a very observant dog, to notice the slab of paint in the skylight! Perhaps he heard it fall just before he began behaving like Lassie. Poor Henry, I wonder if he is gone. You can only hope. 😀

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  4. P.S. Upon writing this comment, I decided to go up the stairs and ask Ron what type of bird it was. His answer: “It’s in the freezer out in the garage.” All he added is that the head was missing. Ranch living.

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  5. I do remember Henry. How strange about the blob of paint. I guess it was sort of like a Rorschach test–an ambiguous blob that made you think of Henry because–well, because you were thinking of him.

    It’s worrisome to hear about Dr. Advice doing all that climbing. My husband learned his lesson a few years ago when he fell out of a tree. He was all alone on our rural property and no one could have heard him screaming. Fortunately, he had fallen onto a pile of tree branches and was able to get up by himself.

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  6. I’m so glad your husband was OK. It is hard for all of us to believe we are getting older and perhaps not so agile as before. Women are able to grasp the transition better than men I think.

    Dr. A is now looking to borrow a very tall ladder to get up and paint the offending area. We are fortunate to have a man who comes each week to help us, but he never wants to wait for him. It’s the same with the gardener. He’d rather do it himself. They say Danes are stubborn, and I can vouch for that.

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  7. You said “Dane” in your last sentence, and all my thoughts of Rorschach tests and crows and such were wiped clean in an instant. The word that popped to mind was “Solvang.” I’ve never been there, but I’ve seen several magazine articles, and it looks like a fun place. The quaint town I have gotten to is Ferndale, way north in your state. My, was I glad to see that place. We’d been driving logging roads through the Lost Coast, and got the best view of the Pacific ever when we came over a ridge, but then there was that little business of finding our way back to civilization.

    Anyway — I was in Danevang on Sunday, a little Danish settlement south of here on the coastal plain. There’s not much left now but a museum, a church and a cemetery, and the museum wasn’t open. But, I’m planning to go back, then write about it.

    Isn’t it amazing to “see” something that isn’t? I’m glad it wasn’t Henry.

    As for Dr. Advice, your tale reminds me of the day my dad came wandering into the kitchen, sat down and said, “I guess maybe you should take me to the hospital.” He’d been working on the roof, fell, hit his head on the concrete patio and knocked himself out. When he came to, he came in. Amazing that there was no significant or enduring damage. Tell Dr. A to be careful, please.

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    • We love Solvang and go through it each time we visit our family south. The biggest shop in town is “Rasmussens” (no relation) a nice gift shop. The best Danish bakery in the country is there. Mortensen’s. Their kringle is to die for. A second best is Larsens in Ballard Wa.
      Ferndale is darling too. That drive you mention has one area which looks just like the coast of western Ireland. They had an enormous earthquake up there years ago the day after we drove around it. We went back up and everything was destroyed. Probably built up by now. Do write about your Danevaang it will be a good one.

      We have help today repairing the wall area where “pseudo Henry met his demise”.

      Gosh your Dad was lucky wasn’t he? One friend’s father fell of the roof and died. We can’t ever imagine we can’t do the things we used to. You watch your step climbing masts while varnishing. We don’t want to have you in the IC.

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