Last weekend I blogged about my sweetheart rescuing a baby Northern mockingbird. But wait, the story gets better. Ten days ago or so, he discovered the feather-less bird on his driveway, apparently having fallen out of a nest in the neighbor’s yard. He put it into a discarded robin’s nest, then into an empty Amazon.com box, then into a tree in the front yard.
Never having had much success in reviving baby birds in the past, he was doubtful that he could make a difference to this one. Surprising him, Mama mockingbird chased him away so she could perch on the side of the box and feed her baby non-stop berries. Apparently, she flies back and forth between siblings high up in the original nest, and this foster home. Here’s a photo he caught of Mama checking on baby.
The little one appears to be the runt of the litter, still only the size of a small walnut, which is a lot smaller than it’s nest mates who are practicing their tightrope walking on nearby branches. It has grown a stubby tail and few flight feathers. That doesn’t stop it from hurtling itself over the edge of the box to the grass below! At least a dozen times, he’s patiently put it back into the box, covering it partially when it looks like rain. Two or three times, Mama has alerted him to the fact that baby is AWOL again by sitting on the front porch railing and squawking until he locates it. She doesn’t even buzz his head anymore when he peers in to make sure all is well in the box. I tease him that the little one thinks he’s it’s Daddy!
Yesterday, my boyfriend (whom I’ve nicknamed the patron saint of cats, birds and underdogs) was hanging out on the front porch, keeping an eye of the mockingbird when he noticed a young man with a backpack wandering dazedly down the street. This is a common sight in his city neighborhood – many homeless folks hang on the corner to look for work, handouts, or other amusements. When the same guy circled around again, though, he called out “Son, do you need something?” The guy stopped. Looked up. Decided that although this dude had a cardboard box stuck in his tree for some strange reason, he looked safe enough. Shared that he’d gotten into the city late last night and was jumped at the bus station at knife point. They’d emptied his backpack, took his phone, his wallet, everything important to him. He said he’d slept outdoors for the first time in his life, and he didn’t know what to do next. He could call his father, but he was still at work and he didn’t want to worry him.
Now, my sweetie’s heard some tall tales before. In fact, he’s the spitting image of Mark Twain himself in looks and mannerisms some days. He asked the young man where he was from. Turns out they’re from the same hometown. Serendipity? He continued to check out the story – where’d you go to school, what street do you live on, who do you know? He got satisfactory answers to his questions, so offered the gift of enough money for a hot meal and bus fare home. The kid started crying.
Like a true Southern boy, the young man offered to work off the cash, or send it back via the mail. Nope. “Just pay it forward, son. Help somebody else someday.” Spoken like a true Southern man. When I heard this story, I told him “You just helped that boy back into his nest”. All us Mama’s out there are thankful.
Think: When’s the last time you were down on your luck and needed a helping hand? Who helped you get back on track? Have you returned the favor, perhaps not to them, but in other instances?
Say: Please share your stories here.
Do: Ask someone this week “Do you need something?” Then find a way to connect them to what they need. Sometimes just listening to their story is all that’s required.