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  • Writer's pictureMags

Feeding the Blue Jays

When we arrived at my grandparents house, granddaddy's greeting was always "give me a bushel and a peck and a hug around the neck".

It wasn't until years later that I realised these were actually song lyrics from the 1950s (there is a version by the Andrews Sisters and one by Doris Day -

Granddaddy was the gentlest, most attentive, most generous soul that I have ever known. It was inconceivable that one person could have so much patience in one lifetime, but he did. He spent endless hours with us just doing everyday things. We watched him in his carpentry workshop, filled with the delicious scent of sawdust and the blare of band saws and sanders. He played round after round of carom with us on the front porch. He read a library's worth of books to us and ended each one with "That's All Folks!" ( in reference to Looney Tunes). He must have pushed the hammock, the tricycle, or the swing until his arms were numb, but he never complained, he never refused, and he never seemed to tire of being with us.

Granddaddy had owned a Chevrolet dealership for years, and kept a white 1962 Chevy Super Sport in mint condition. I remember after a particularly blistering day of peach picking, sitting in the enormous back seat of that barge and asking Granddaddy to 'turn on the air conditioning' - he rolled down the window and replied as deadpan as you please, "Let me pick up a little speed."

In the afternoons we would take a look in the bread box to see what Grandmommy had left for us to put in the bird feeders. Each of us would get a paper bag of crumbs and he lifted us in turn to dump our offerings into the numerous feeders around the yard. Whatever was left over went on the little stone table by the pond. Then we'd rest in the hammock in the shade and wait for the blue jays to come. I think blue jays were Granddaddy's favourite, though he knew all the breeds and most of their songs.

There was something so incalculably precious, so rich, about our relationship. I wonder did he feel the same about me.

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