Slightly Bird-Brained

How did you get my daddy to go to sleep when he was little?” asked my young granddaughter.  “Oh, dear one, let me tell you a story. . .”  And my mind wandered back many years, to The Trumpet of the Swan, and how Louis was determined to become a trumpeter.  Our boys loved the story, especially since their daddy played the trumpet.  They were almost sad when, after many days of reading, we finally completed the book.  Even today when they hear, “Day is done, gone the sun…,” they immediately think of Louis the Swan.  

Slightly Bird-Brained

Growing up in North Dakota and Iowa should have caused me to be a much heartier person. It didn’t.  Each winter I endured the blizzards and ice storms while counting the days until once again a crocus or daffodil would peak through and announce that color was returning to my world.  Oh, what joy when the first robin was spotted!  When at last the sweet chirping of birds could be heard, I knew that warmth was returning as well.

The Byrne childhood home

There was, however, an unfortunate downside to my fondness for the returning bird population.  My dear mother was concerned that should there not be sufficient seeds, worms, etc. available upon their immediate return, I should begin taking out all leftover bread after supper each evening. This should be torn up into teensy little bits and distributed around the yard, particularly under the trees. We had trees everywhere! At first I didn’t mind.  Then after about two days my teensy bits became “bits”, then “chunks”, and soon I just tore the pieces of bread in half, figuring those old birds could figure it out for themselves.

My next chore was to clean out the birdbath. This not only meant making sure that the water in it didn’t get a layer of ice so the birdies couldn’t bathe (heaven forbid we have dirty birdies!), but I was to keep the basin and water clean. Hauling water in my little bucket took a lot of time. If you’ve ever had a birdbath you know how gross cleaning one can be, if not, just don’t ask.

Earlier I mentioned something about not being hearty. That also involves a real distaste for any type of bug or creepy crawly. Therefore, my last spring bird job caused me a great deal of anxiety.  I was to  “till” a small area in our garden since the ground was still quite hard from being frozen all winter. This was to allow the birds to peck more easily for worms. You can’t imagine my delight at unearthing one while digging! Yet even though I may have done my chores slightly bird-brained, our yard always abounded with birds of every color and species. For this I am eternally grateful!

How thankful I am to now be living in a year-round warm climate.  I don’t tear up bread, don’t own a birdbath, and will never dig for worms! But I still love listening to sweet chirping, watching nests be built, and catching a glimpse of a cardinal with its mate on our back fence.

I think it’s time to dust off  The Trumpet of the Swan, and curl up on the couch with all of my dear grandchildren.  I wouldn’t be surprised if a couple of daddies even wanted to take a turn at reading a chapter or two aloud.  And maybe when we finish the book, PopPop may surprise them with a little “Louis” song of his own!!

“All is well, safely rest. . . God is nigh.”

Love,

Button

Mary Byrne Kline

Mary Byrne Kline . aka Button

 

 

 

 

 

 

Join us as we create Heritage 2 Legacy memories
through the delight of a children’s book.

 

 

Feathers for Lunch

Author & Illustrator:  Lois Ehlert

This is a book that is never read once, for as soon as it is finished you will hear, “Read it again!”  PLEASE

We have a very hungry cat on the loose, determined to make lunch of some birds. He’s sneaking around the backyard and his adventure is an engaging and entertaining rhyme.

“His food in a can is tame and mild,
so he’s gone out for something wild.”

Will the cat be successful in his attempts at catching a bird?

“But cats can’t fly and they can’t soar,
and birds know what their wings are for.”

At first glance it may appear to simply be a short quick read, but look closely and you will find some hidden treasures.  Each bird is identified, along with the plant or shrub upon which it is resting. All birds illustrated in the story are portrayed life sized and true in their coloring.

At the end of the book the reader is given the factual treat of “The lunch that got away.” These four pages are filled with information on the twelve birds our poor cat couldn’t catch.

Here are some delightful learning (play?) opportunities that go along with Feathers for Lunch.  Enjoy!   PINTEREST (images and ideas)

Mary Byrne Kline

The Ugly Duckling

As you know by now, Jerry Pinkney is one of our favorite author-illustrators and we even consider him a friend.   It is therefore no surprise that we chose his adaptation of The Ugly Duckling as our pick for Birds & Feathers month.

764266

Have you ever walked into a room and felt as though you didn’t belong?  Ever have someone make a hurtful remark about your hair, your weight, or anything about your appearance?  And should this happen to one of our children,  our parental instinct would immediately be to protect, soothe, and encourage our young one.

Well,  no sooner does our little Ugly Duckling hatch to see the light of day, than the teasing  begins.  “Did you ever see anything quite as ugly as that great creature?” one of the ducks in the yard taunted as the family walked by.  “He is a disgrace to any brood,” another agreed. “I shall go and chase him out!” And he ran to the big duckling and bit his neck.

ugly3

Mother Duck attempts to comfort her unusually large duckling, assuring him that although he may not be as handsome as the others, he is tall and strong.  Words meant to comfort, but our little duckling droops his head.

In desperation, the Ugly Duckling runs away, and I’m sorry to say, his misadventures continue.  Throughout the fall and bitter winter he struggles to find shelter and enough to eat.  When at last the days become warmer he sees before him the most beautiful birds he has ever seen.  He watches them step into a stream, with feathers rustling, and float quietly upon the water as though they are part of it.

pinkneys-duckling

Do you know what our duckling does next? He stretches out his wings, and lifts himself into the big, blue sky and flies down to the water to join those beautiful birds.  I think you know what he sees when he looks into the water.  Gone is the bird with the dull feathers and awkward, skinny neck.  Yes, he now sees before him the real him – a beautiful swan!

The swan knew that it was worth having undergone
all the suffering and loneliness that he had.
Otherwise, he would never have known
what it was to be really happy.

Mary Byrne Kline
CONTACT

It’s Spring – Play Ball!

Walt Disney once said, “It seems to me we have a lot of story yet to tell.” In response, we at FirefliesBlog offer a boisterous, “Amen.” That’s the idea behind our Heritage 2 Legacy feature – offering you ideas for capturing and preserving your family stories.

Check out our newest storytelling idea – It’s Spring, Play Ball!

It’s Spring – Play Ball

In the backyard of our Beaver Falls, PA, home my brothers and I played endless ball games with neighborhood friends named Suskevich and Conley. We had multiple field configurations havingone thing in common – they were all destructive to mom and dad’s landscaping. Astonishingly, I have no memories of our parents complaining.

There was the sideways field where home plate for whiffleball games was close to a young tree dad planted. An overly aggressive swing, the only kind we approved of, pruned the branches. Then there was our straight-on tennisball pitch only layout. Home plate was elevated on the patio by the back door. The backstop was a living room wall and a high hard one rocked the entire house. A hard low one endangered the lives of mom’s petunias. Finally, there was the straight-on football field on the other half of our double lot by the willow tree.

Gil Moegerle

For the rest of the story – listen below.
Remember to subscribe to Chasing Fireflies in iTunes.

Subscribe to Chasing Fireflies Podcasts on iTunes

More information about our Heritage 2 Legacy project.