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Archive for May, 2021

When Clay Hudson Favell, aka Great Grandpa Hudson, married my Mother-in-Law Ada 40 years ago, we were all at the wedding! And for once, Hudson wasn’t the officiant. Long before anybody could become certified to marry people via the internet, he was the go-to officiant for half of our friends and family. Our tiny Bride was the flower girl at Ada and Hudson’s parking lot wedding, who would grow up to marry her Groom in an apple orchard with Hudson under the chuppah; blessing the new couple with his grand daughter Violet spreading flowers at their feet.

How did a lapsed Southern Baptist pastor, a widower who had built hospitals in Ghana during his missionary days and fought in the South Pacific during WWII, end up marrying a divorced Brooklyn Jewish marriage and family counselor in NJ?

Easy! He was smitten from the moment he saw her. Hudson was the moon to Ada’s sun. He was kind, steadfast, thoughtful, and he adored her. We called him the Poughkeepsie Gypsy since he would drive from NY every week just to see her. Ada told me he doesn’t get flustered, and he keeps his promises. He always loved it when their children and grandchildren would descend on their home for Jewish holidays or just for a swim in the pool.

When Hudson lost his first born daughter, Louanna, in a car accident, Ada was there to help. And later when Ada lost her second born son, Richard, they joined that horrific club together – the one where parents have lost a child. By that time they had created a counseling business of their own, one where pastoral counseling and family therapy could blend seamlessly.

As Hudson began to retire his therapy practice, he started carving totem poles. This is how his son Charles described it –

“Hudson was an incredibly talented artist. His specialty was woodworking. He made one of a kind pieces of wood art on his lathe. Ranging from wooden tables and table legs to toys, including figurines of people that would be incorporated in family therapy sessions. Hudson was immensely talented with a chisel as well, creating countless works of art by hand. After a trip to Alaska with Ada, inspired by the totem poles he saw and learned about, Hudson taught himself how to carve story poles. He created numerous story poles that artistically described the stories of his life, and life with Ada.” 

https://www.dignitymemorial.com/obituaries/fort-smith-ar/hudson-favell-10209776

Ada and Hudson surrounded themselves with his totem poles, and soon he was getting commissions. Every Christmas we’d wonder what type of creative carving he would deliver. A mobile of a seagull one year, a bagel cutting block another. I’m not even sure how many oatmeal ladles I have that were hand-carved. Of course our cardinal totem pole, with Jewish and Irish symbols, is our favorite.

He was the only grandfather my children have ever known. I like to think he taught them the art of patience, he brought a southern sensibility to his northern family. A friend on Facebook said he was “…a quiet force of nature and wisdom.” The Rocker describes his grandfather like this:

“hudson was an archetype of post-war tough, a navy veteran with an impeccable work ethic, a gravelly southern drawl and minimalism of words. the quiet contemplative yin to my grandma’s firecracker yang. but he also subverted a lot of the expectations of the archetype. he was deeply emotionally intelligent, a professional therapist; he was an artist and a master woodcarver, his home was covered in gigantic totem poles (wink wink) that he carved by hand from wood he cut himself, and art he made or collected through the years he spent traveling the world with ada.”

And the Bride had this to say about Hudson:

When I remember my grandparents, I still see them in their house in Dover, my grandma squealing with delight at our arrival, squeezing us tightly. And behind her, quietly rocking in his chair in front of the wood stove, my grandfather sits. Adding newspaper and wood to the fire, slowly, consistently, a big smile on his face to see us. The yin to her yang. The quiet, kind, consistent rock to her insatiable joy.

Grandpa Hudson officiating at our Cville wedding 2010 with his son Charles

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The President signed a Covid 19 Hate Crimes Act on Thursday to address the rise of violence against Asian Americans. And before the ink could dry, we are hearing about more and more Anti-Semitic incidents from coast to coast. Biden Tweeted this morning:

The recent attacks on the Jewish community are despicable, and they must stop. I condemn this hateful behavior at home and abroad — it’s up to all of us to give hate no safe harbor.

@POTUS Twitter

Hate is a nasty word. It tends to turn itself around and destroy a person from within. It’s the opposite of love and compassion; but it can be just as compelling. The Flapper could certainly hold a grudge, and so did Grandma Ada. Both were positive, optimistic women but once aggrieved they would never forget. I am still a work in progress, still trying to let go of old wounds.

Both of my children witnessed a Nazi swastika drawn for their amusement – once in school and once on a school bus. That kind of hate I’d never experienced, although Bob was familiar with such tropes. The Bride was too young to know what it meant, and the Rocker knew enough to be angry. And that’s how it starts, the slow, insidious, incremental introduction of hate. This person is different, this person is less than, this person deserves to be mocked.

And when I hear Republican Marjorie Greene compare the Speaker’s admonition to wear a mask on the House floor, to Hitler’s use of Jewish stars during the Holocaust, well it’s easy to dismiss her as a lunatic sitting out on the fringe. But she has about one third of the country listening to her every word, sitting out there with her on the extreme right fringe. People who believe January 6 was a normal tour day on the Hill, that there are good and bad people on both sides of Charlottesville – you know at Lee Park, where white supremacists were shouting,

“Jews will not replace us.”

When we visited an elderly aunt in County Mayo, Ireland years ago, I could tell the Troubles were not completely forgotten. She told me about a visit to a shoe store up north, and how poorly she was treated. I’m wondering now if things may percolate after Brexit. Will the simmering subplot of Catholic Ireland vs Protestant UK start to unravel? Certain foods must now go through checkpoints creating paperwork and confusion.

Despite a government promise that there would be no impediments to trade between Northern Ireland and Great Britain (GB) after Brexit, new checks have been causing disruption to supplies of food, plants and online deliveries.

https://www.bbc.com/news/explainers-53724381

Fear and hatred of a race of people or a religion has created conflict from the beginning of time. Parents teach their children to “hate” people because three generations before the Turks murdered Armenians…. or just add any and all different wars to that equation. One would never wear orange on St Patrick’s Day. Ada would never buy a German car. Who would dare to fly a Confederate flag in the People’s House?

If I were Christian, I might say I was called to love Marjorie Greene. That I should turn my cheek to my enemy, I should pray for her. But my adopted religion tells me to never forget, that my children would have been stolen from me in Nazi Germany. And that silence and indifference will not quench hate speech, it will inflame the rhetoric. I can’t exactly say that I hate Greene, and Republicans like her, but I do have a severe case of contempt.

Here we are with our Left Coast cousins, can you tell the Jews from the Christians?

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Call me crazy, but ever since moving to the South I’ve become more aware of gun violence. And since the Supreme Court will be taking up a case this year about whether or not civilians have the right to carry a gun outside of their home, I’ve been hoping that Democratic legislators will become more proactive. The piecemeal rules and regulations for gun ownership, depending on your state, are not a sustainable solution to our country’s obsession with guns.

Last year in Nashville, an ICU nurse was shot to death on her way to work at St Thomas Hospital. Caitlyn Kaufmann was only 26 years old and had moved here from Pennsylvania. In the middle of the pandemic two men were arrested and told police they were mad because she cut them off in traffic! Road Rage. https://www.wkrn.com/news/crime-tracker/witness-suspect-confessed-to-shooting-nurse-on-i-440-claims-road-rage/

Just this year, there have been FOUR arrests for various road rage incidents in our city.

“The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says about 66 percent of deadly crashes are caused by aggressive driving behaviors. We’re seeing more shootings on Tennessee roads because of road rage. So far, there have been four road rage shootings in the Metro area since December.

https://www.newschannel5.com/news/local-news/more-road-rage-shootings-occurring-across-tennessee

Since Bob continues to drive like, well like he’s still living in New Jersey, I am usually the one driving around town. At first it was a struggle. There’s construction everywhere, and distracted pedestrians on their cell phones. But I’m used to city driving now; I know the short-cuts and ways to avoid pedal taverns and drunk bachelorettes on scooters. And anyway, we haven’t been driving as much during this past year. And maybe that’s why we’re seeing an increase in road rage incidents.

We’ve all been through a collective malaise. Some of us have suffered more than others, and lets not forget the opening salvo – a tornado thank you very much. Now the weather has broken, mask mandates have lifted, but the anger and tension remain for far too many. Our Governor is about to stop Covid related unemployment benefits this summer. And if you happen to keep a handgun in your glove compartment, and you’re having a bad day, who’s to keep you from brandishing it about?

Guns kill people, no doubt about it. In Denver last year a woman was walking her dog through an alley by an open window. Apparently the man inside didn’t want the dog doing his business there, so he took out his AK47 and shot her to death. The woman, Isabella Thallas, had just turned 21 – her killer fired 24 shots. And it turned out the assault rifle belonged to the shooter’s friend, a policeman.

Do you know how many guns have been stolen in Nashville so far this year? 331

In fact, we have a bail bonds business a few doors down. One night the owner asked us if we’d seen anything suspicious because his gun had been stolen from his car!

SCOTUS hasn’t taken up a gun case in over a decade. However, the Court this session will take up “…. in NY State Rifle & Pistol Assoc. v. Corlett, a New York law, upheld by the lower courts, that requires individuals to get a license to carry a concealed gun outside the home. The case will likely be argued in the fall.

The court’s decision follows mass shootings in recent weeks in Indiana, Georgia, Colorado and California, and a surge in firearms sales, particularly to first-time gun buyers.”

In TN of course there are NO restrictions for someone who wants to carry a gun outside the home. Only New York, California, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey and Rhode Island have any significant restrictions.

Democracy doesn’t always die in darkness, in can die slowly and in plain sight.

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My Sundays always start out with a Zoom call to my two siblings. We check in on each other, we hear about our plans for the future, sometimes there’s a medical consult with Bob, and we reminisce. But yesterday just kept getting better and better. Bob wanted to take me out for lunch, and we decided to try something new in East Nashville.

So there we were, sitting on the patio of the Grilled Cheeserie Food Truck’s actual restaurant, enjoying a TN bacon and bourbon melted cheese confection, when in strolls not one, but TWO Welsh Corgis! Naturally we had to visit and things felt ‘almost normal’ talking mask-less to a perfect stranger – who happened to be a Veterinarian. She told me that so called “Cowboy Corgis,” the name of a breeder here in TN, are really a hybrid mix of Corgi with Blue Heelers, which they’d be happy to sell for $3,000!

Is it just me, or are these boutique blended breeds just a flash in the pan? Most mixed-breed dogs are blended with a Retriever or a Poodle – like the Goldendoodle. Although I looove the Cavachon – a mix of Cavalier King Charles with a Bichon. They look like tiny Ewoks!

With Ms Bean turning 13, we’ve been talking about another dog, but I’m on the fence. Dogs don’t just supply endless, unconditional love, they also make you get up off the couch to walk them. Affordable exercise and lubrication for your rusty joints! The big problem is that chunk they take out of our hearts when they die. And when we start traveling again, it may not be fair to leave a puppy at home. Anyway, for now I get to enjoy the Bride’s Frenchie pup!

Soon we were on our way to meet the Bride and Groom’s family at Cheekwood, our local botanical garden and museum. If you love animals and happen to have kids who love Legos, you cannot miss this exhibit, “Sean Kenney’s Nature POP!”

From acclaimed artist Sean Kenney and produced by Imagine Exhibitions, this exhibition features 38 sculptures made from more than 800,000 LEGO® Bricks. Inspired by the Pop art movement, Kenney’s work blurs the boundaries between austere and the everyday, drawing from a belief that everything is interconnected. Sean Kenney’s Nature POP! Made with LEGO® Bricks explores the beauty of nature through highly stylized, colorful displays….

https://cheekwood.org/calendar/nature-pop/

The exhibit will run through September 5th, but yesterday the weather was ideal for animal-sculpture-spotting; overcast and high 70s with a hint of the humidity to come. Walking through the beautiful gardens, passing other mask-less families, and suddenly seeing a Pileated Woodpecker made up of thousands of neon colored Legos; or rounding a corner of hostas to see a bright blue Polar Bear with her cubs was breathtaking. The L’il Pumpkin wanted to know just how they were designed to make overlapping feathers, and the Love Bug immediately put together a small black dog with Legos when we returned to their house.

Sunday dinner was delivered by a yummy local eatery. My daughter showed us her latest painting (yes she is a spectacular multi-media artist in her spare time) and we laughed and tried to decide where we might put a tiny house if we were to make a bid in the auction to benefit Cheekwood.

Those tony tiny houses are cute, but I’d be feeling a tad cramped after awhile. You?

Seeing all those faces, smiling and talking, in the open air felt surreal and just a little frightening. Bob said we’re basically at herd immunity in this country, if you count all the people who were infected with everyone who’s been vaccinated. But what about India and all those variants around the world? What about the Bug and the Pumpkin, when will they be vaccinated?

We promised the Grands a trip to Harry Potter World in California, so a visit to the Rocker and Aunt KiKi to celebrate their very first new home is in order this summer. I’m so delighted for my Left Coast family… as Great Grandma Ada would say, “Pooh, Pooh, Pooh!” She would have loved to see our collective unmasking.

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The night before last we went out to a fairly new neighborhood restaurant with another couple for an early dinner. Of course, we sat on the patio which was wedged between an apartment building – good news now because the cold spring wind was kept at bay, bad news for the summer, since this trendy patio will eventually become a sauna. We got there early, and our meals were divine though just a bit pricey. Fish was on the menu. We toasted ourselves for getting through the past year, for getting dressed and getting out!

I actually thought for two seconds I might put on heels, but we were walking a few blocks towards the river so my better angel prevailed and I slipped on sandals.

We slipped on our masks in order to leave, and walked through a previously empty bar area. Surprise, surprise it was like 2019. Tons of mask-less young people standing, chatting and sitting jam packed, whooping it up. I don’t mind feeling old, but I hate feeling judgemental. The new CDC guidance on masks – that vaccinated people could chuck their masks indoors and out – had yet to be issued. This morning I’m wondering, were all those young people vaccinated?

In the past, we could all tell who the anti-vaxers were. They would stroll down the middle of the sidewalk, and expect you to give way. They’d tell you they are “sensitive” to vaccines, or they don’t trust them, so they’re going to wait it out. The anti-vaxers are the new smokers, morphing easily from “I can’t wear a mask” to “you can’t tell me what to do.” And in pure irony, they espouse their “Right” to their own bodies. They revel in their rebelliousness.

And NOW we won’t be able to know who’s been vaccinated and who’s passing-posing as vaccinated! I was just telling Bob and my siblings that I’ve finally figured it out – most Republicans were just never told that it’s NOT all about them.

My psychologist brother, Dr Jim, agreed. They may look like 30 something adults, but their emotional development ended at middle school. We were discussing the latest trend in mental health – Dialectical Behavior Therapy (DBT); and since May is Mental Health Awareness Month, I wanted to dig deeper. I mean, can a leopard really change its spots?

In DBT, a patient and therapist work to resolve the apparent contradiction between self-acceptance and change to bring about positive changes in the individual in treatment. Part of this process involves offering validation, which helps people become more likely to cooperate and less likely to experience distress at the idea of change.

In practice, the therapist validates that an individual’s actions “make sense” within the context of their personal experiences without necessarily agreeing that they are the best approach to solving a problem.

https://www.verywellmind.com/dialectical-behavior-therapy-1067402

Validating language seeks to understand emotions; it means really listening, asking how do you feel? Asking “What was that like for you?” instead of telling a person how they should be feeling. Sharing emotions with our children, instead of telling them NOT to feel a certain way. Although I agree this may be a good approach to help people cope with strong emotions, I think that actually being vulnerable is part and parcel of being human.

After all, we don’t want to be entirely disconnected from our emotions. Dysphoria or a Mr Spock persona may be the end result.

For instance, if your child is complaining of a stomach ache before school every day, talking and listening to her fears is good, but may not be enough. Is she being bullied? Is the school about to spend a week on standardized tests? The goal is not just to understand why, it’s not to simply take a deep breath and get on with it, unless you’re British. The goal is to learn that strong emotions can signal needed change and we can help them work it out.

We’ve just turned a corner. Some of us may still wear masks in crowded places; some of us may not dine indoors this spring and summer. But the worst of this pandemic is behind us, and yes we may need booster shots, but that’s an acceptable antidote to living with fear. I’m an optimist at heart.

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Whenever I tried to explain my husband to other journalists around a water cooler, I’d tell people he’s a doctor who hates golf and prefers to hang out in his hangar. Yes, he’s a private pilot who used to own a Piper Arrow 4 seater, until he sold it after his stroke. In the past, I’d laugh about my analogy – it would paint an accurate picture of an iconoclastic renegade. A doctor who doesn’t golf is like a newspaper reporter who doesn’t like gossip!

Lately, airplane hangars have been taking a lot of grief. First, it was Caitlyn Jenner talking about her buddies who are packing up their private jets and leaving California. That’s the talk around small, municipal airports she said. That seems like a good reason to run for Governor.

But today I learned that the fomenting of the BIG LIE around the 2020 election actually started a few years earlier in an airplane hangar in Texas!

When I would hang around Bob’s airplane hangar, I’d be impressed into duty; checking, cleaning, and generally tidying things up. If the kids were there, we might even wash the plane. If one of his buddies stopped by, they’d talk about the flying conditions, some idiot who clipped his wing on another hangar, and the next trip. And there was a lot of talk about why JFK Jr went down on his way to the Vineyard. I mean that was all single-engine plane owners could talk about back then. But we were in the minor leagues.

With money to burn, and pilots to hire, these BIG business people buy or charter super light jets like a Gulfstream. They come with showers, board rooms and can sit up to 11 people. The hangars are also luxurious. This is an extremely select group of movers and shakers, men like Bill Gates and a random Republican Texas billionaire salesman named Russell J Ramsland Jr… what a Dickensian name. Once he dabbled in “wellness technology,” but selling his skepticism proved more lucrative.

Among other claims, Ramsland was repeating the ominous idea that election software used in the United States originated in Venezuela and saying nefarious actors could surreptitiously manipulate votes on a massive scale. As the 2020 election approached, he privately briefed GOP lawmakers in Washington and met with officials from the Department of Homeland Security, documents and interviews show.

ASOG’s (Allied Security Operations Group, a GOP pac that began a quixotic attempt to find evidence of widespread fraud where none existed) examination by last summer had already cost more than $1 million, according to a document the company gave government officials that was obtained by The Post. Ramsland had sought funding from Republican donors whose fortunes were made in the oil, gas and fracking industries.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/investigations/interactive/2021/trump-election-fraud-texas-businessman-ramsland-asog/?itid=hp-top-table-main-0430b

This may help explain why an Arizona audit is looking for bamboo fibers. Ramsland actually converted his hangar into his office. The man who once opened up lots of Tex Mex eateries was now looking for funding to spread widespread voter fraud conspiracies. Usually it’s difficult to find out where a fire started, but it was good investigative reporting that uncovered the spark for the biggest threat to our democracy – disavowing a free and fair election.

I mean remember the hanging chad in Florida? I hated the outcome of that election, I cried about the SCOTUS decision. But I didn’t plan a riotous coup in the Capital.

Since most of us are working from home, and I haven’t been in a news room for quite some time, the typical water cooler gossip has gone virtual. Today, Covid numbers are trending down – in fact Davidson County’s new cases just dipped under 10 per 100,000. But even if we all start traveling and eating indoors again, remember the GOP is still spreading the BIG LIE and stealthily planning a comeback. Their golden orange idol has actually started his own blog. Now Mr T can spread his lies the old school way, complete with misspellings.

I told Bob I wasn’t flying with him unless he learns how to pilot a Cirrus, a plane that has its very own parachute. Nashville has a flying club and it owns one of these pretty planes. You can never be too careful.

Flying to Tune to see the pregnant Bride 6 years ago

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Yesterday, I let W the Frenchie out on the porch, and he went straight for the new cactus dish I had planted. I caught him just in time, his tiny nose was saved from all those dreaded cactus spines. While I was telling the Bride this story, she let it slip that W was down to one meal a day since his puppy fat rolls were growing more fat rolls. My poor Grand Dog must be starving!

Then low and behold, I read a Chasten Buttigieg Tweet lamenting the 20 pounds he gained during Covid. But, he went out and bought new pants after a friend told him, “… maybe just dress the body you have and stop worrying about it.” He finished with being grateful for his friends and the “bigger pants.”

First of all, I didn’t think that guys would mind a little tire around the middle. I thought it was mostly a women’s issue – body dysmorphia and diet culture (aka the business of betting on your willpower) has been marketed to women for quite some time. Where once we were implored to become “bikini ready,” now the industry urges us to lose weight for health reasons. My Mother’s diet culture has morphed from grapefruits into jargon about “wellness.”

I felt like confessing to Chasten (and his 588.8K followers) that I too had gained weight during this past year of: losing our family’s matriarch; no gym work-outs; intense election and January 6th anxiety; plus Bob’s delicious-never-ending sourdough bread. Yep, I proudly admit I’ve gained 10 pounds which is a whole dress size, but who’s wearing dresses these days?

Luckily, most of my pants still fit. Granted they are mostly pull-on, yoga style, size Medium, Eileen Fisher. I know cause I actually had to dress up this past week for a graduation party in Ms Berdelle’s secret garden. Talk about getting back to normal, it was delightful to mingle with our vaccinated friends and neighbors, to drink champagne with strawberries, and walk under her roses reaching into the sky.

And honestly, I don’t worry about gaining or losing a little weight. I used to joke that I wasn’t quite Jewish enough because when I worry I stop eating. Well, Grandma Ada would be pleased to know that I’ve finally joined the tribe. This past year required an abundance of comfort food, and I love to cook; so the constellations aligned and voila! I find myself in the South searching for the perfect fried chicken sandwich.

Oh, and the rocks in my pants pockets as I head out the door to Hattie B’s?

I’m not some Victorian damsel in distress heading for the river to drown my sorrows. No, I carry rocks around to hurl at Kevin, who has decided to bring two of his squirrel buddies to raid my dish of delectable bird seed. One good throw never hits him and it does give the doves a few minutes before he returns.

Right now a mourning dove is lifting both wings, sitting across from Kevin, who could care less. She is doing her very best to appear intimidating and large, but squirrels know things. He keeps eating.

Animals have figured out what we humans are still learning, how to eat to survive and thrive. They don’t require scales or marketing ploys. And I don’t require a bikini anymore, I’m more of a tankini type anyway.

Still, sometimes I feel like somebody’s watching me eat.

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When Bob and I first contemplated building our ‘not so big’ house in Virginia, I remember our builder telling us we could build with reinforced concrete instead of the usual stick construction. After all, with our view of the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west, we could expect lots of wind and weather. Then he mentioned that it would be so air tight, you wouldn’t hear the birds.

Well, that would never do!

I called my upstairs office my aviary. I loved listening to the racket made by woodpeckers, and two owls calling to each other at sunset. “Whoo.” But I would never feed the birds because I didn’t want to attract bears. I enjoyed Mother Nature in real time: watching fox kits rolling along the grass; families of deer daintily strolling through trees, and two huge Pileated woodpeckers jack hammering a branch that had fallen in the driveway. My favorite sighting was a hummingbird who returned to the same flower every year, at about the same time.

There was plenty of forest for everyone to feast. It was like living inside a Disney movie, with bluebirds everywhere.

But 2020 being what it was, with the addition of a long number of days, below freezing and snow covered, I started throwing out nuts and bread for our poor city slicker birds. Soon enough, I was bringing home big bags of the most delectable bird seed and ordering a fancy, new feeder online. No bears to fear here. Now granted, our small side yard garden cannot compare with 14 acres of woods, but I’ve still managed to attract a diverse group of feathered friends.

Small wrens and finches cling easily to the bird feeder, but the bigger birds, like doves and robins, blue jays and cardinals prefer grazing. So every day I fill a bowl with seed and put out fresh water on a tree stump – the one that held the fairy house. A mockingbird can flit between the stump and the feeder, depending on traffic. And that is the view through my office window today; mourning doves displaying dominance along with an ingenious squirrel. The squirrel trumps everyone on the stump.

Am I becoming that old lady? The one who sits and stares out her window, if she’s not feeding a dozen cats; the one who runs out screaming in her nightgown at the squirrel gobbling all the goodies?

This morning I feel better about my latest obsession. The National Geographic published an article about why backyard birding is great for kids and adults. I was not surprised to read that having a bird feeder can actually contribute to our feeling of happiness.

But why are birds so important to nature’s biodiversity—and therefore your family’s potential happiness? For one thing, birds are an indicator species, meaning they basically function as a “check engine light” for biodiversity. When something is out of whack in nature, birds let us know—often by disappearing—because they need a healthy environment to survive. Of course, birds aren’t the only indicator, but since they’re found almost everywhere in the world and are easy to study, their presence—or absence—is a good way to measure the variety of life that research shows can boost mood.

https://www.nationalgeographic.com/family/article/why-a-backyard-thats-for-the-birds-is-great-for-kids-too?cmpid=org=ngp::mc=social::src=twitter::cmp=editorial::add=tw20210430family-livingnearbirdsplanetpossible&sf245481661=1

You’ve heard about the canary in the coal mine. What sparked my empathy for our city birds was coming home one of those frosty winter days to see about ten doves lined up like good little grey soldiers on our porch. They spanned the length of our kitchen wall to capture some house heat and stay out of the wind. Of course they deserved a mourning dove diner on a tree stump!

It’s a diner and fly-in reality show every day.

We’ve created a city bird sanctuary in our sideyard, where birdsong competes with construction noise. And when it all goes quiet, I know danger is near… sure enough, our squirrel is sitting there on his hind legs stuffing his cheeks. Squirrels have to eat too.

Maybe I’m replacing the background sounds of a family. The Flapper used to tell me that some day I would miss those little feet running across a floor and the constant hum of children. She was right. Or maybe it just makes me smile whenever I see our bright red cardinal!

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