As Jordan and I made our morning rounds, taking the used kitty litter out to the garbage, picking up the newspaper from the cold driveway, and heading out the front gate to pick up the mail from the box along the road, we heard the voices of excited children calling to us: “Doc Chery! Doc Chery! Do you want a bird house Doc Chery?”
The tiny voices of the youngsters from across the street echoed through the neighborhood as they scampered toward me from their house. (Sounds echo more these pre-winter solstice days what with our huge old neighborhood lots and the trees all but denuded of their leaves.)
“They made bird feeders and are wondering if you would like some.” Their mom translated.
I nodded my head in appreciation as I made my way across the road to greet these enthusiastic designers who were now running full tilt from their front lawn across the side yard, their prized bird feeders gently swaying from their tiny hands. I looked down at the youngsters as they stood eagerly in front of me holding up their prizes.
“Oh wow kids did you make these?” I smiled enthusiastically examining the bird feeders carefully.
They appeared to be twine wrapped around something round, then peanut butter covering the twine and bird seed rolled on to the peanut butter.
I immediately thought of a delayed project dear friend and teacher Susan J T had given me the idea for- the precious star bird feeders her husband Richard used to make. My goal has been to get some of my own made and hanging from our front porch in time for our solstice and remembrance of life celebration this coming Friday evening. It is to also commemorate the life of that precious human and artist Richard Cabe. We will be doing our personal solstice celebration rituals and include the star bird feeders and luminarias with special messages for Richard this year to coincide with the memorial celebration going on across the country in Salida, Colorado. How wonderful! I thought- we can add this to the celebration- these special bird feeders made by the young artists. I knew Richard Cabe and Susan J T would appreciate that.
“They’re a bit messy I am afraid” continued their mom from just off their front porch.
"Wow I think these are absolutely awesome guys!!” I replied, truly honestly, enthusiastically.
As I looked into their excited faces they began their story of this winter holiday project and it was obvious their mom was continuing a family tradition. “We sure did make them Doc Chery- we sure did! It’s for the birds’ winter treats!” replied Haley with four year old enthusiasm bubbling over.
“They can be your Christmas present from us!” chimed in Dillon her five year old brother with a huge grin proud of this clever thought.
“Well these are most excellent Christmas present kids. Miss Maria will be so thrilled to see them too! I thank you very much."
"Does Danny thank us too?" Haley asked looking at the grinning Jordan aka Joey Daniel aka Danny (Jordan, my old Tennessee Blue Tick hound mix is a dog of many names); she now stood across the street still behind the gate smiling and wagging her tail enthusiastically at the kids.
“Why I believe she is thanking you and the birds will be thanking you too Haley- I will hang them right there along the front porch by the other bird houses so you can watch them from your swings."
I pointed to the overhang of our beautiful old fashioned, wonderful southern-style front porch, raised above the yards and comfortably settled with various chairs, rockers and a bench for seating and visiting.
The overhang sprouted numerous bird houses and wind chimes in a homey country way that pleased the eye and warmed the heart. My front porch was one of the big selling points when I bought this house nearly a year ago.
They nodded their agreement that this was indeed a good placement as their swing set is in the yard across the road from our front porch and since our home is on a bit of a rise from their yard, it provides a wonderful vantage point for watching the activities at the bird feeders and also of the critters at Doc Chery's house.
"Baby Aggy can watch from her front window too Doc Chery!" Haley nodded wisely.
“Yes she can – indeed she can Haley!" I laughed as they knew well Aggy’s favorite perch for watching the neighborhood going-ons, and barking her excited comments about, was from atop the parson's table in the big front window.
“Don’t let Smokey Blue or White Kitty get the birds though Doc Chery,” the little girl worried. (Smokey Blue is my only kitty who still manages to on occasion sneak a walk-about outdoors and White Kitty is their big white kitty who worries me with his lackadaisical wanderings in the busy streets in the neighborhood.)
”Well if they did, then Doc Chery would just fix 'em up Haley- that’s 'cause she’s a critter Doc!” her big brother Dillon rationalized.
I looked into those little faces and reassured them as I thanked them once again for sharing their bird feeders with me. “I will make sure the kitties stay away from the birdies. Thank you kids and Merry Christmas!!” I walked carefully back across the road to where Jordan waited at the gate- likely hoping i was bringing back something edible.
“Bye Doc Chery! Merry Christmas to you too!!” they cried in unison as they scampered off back to their mom and into the house to start yet another holiday tradition project.
“Look Jordan, these are seed treats for the birdies.” I explained as she nosed them carefully as i locked the front gate. “Let's go hang them up.”
Jordan ran up the porch steps and stood wagging and watching as I hung the bird treats along the overhang near the other bird houses- for Jordan is always enthusiastic about doing anything outside with mom.
We hung them up and then I looked across the street and waved at the little faces beaming from inside their kitchen window. They waved back still grinning and jumped down back into the kitchen to continue their holiday making with their mom.
Holiday traditions…that is truly what this season is all about. Kids and moms and sometimes dads making things like winter solstice bird feeders, holiday cookies, special decorations to hang on the tree or send off to grandmom. Holiday traditions celebrating the season's change, bringing some light and warmth to the increasing dark and cold as we end the year.
May your holiday season and solstice celebration be filled with new and old traditions, warmth, light, love, and the peace and joy that the winter season brings~
From our home to yours: Blessings, Light and Love,
Doc Chery and the critters