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Posts Tagged ‘Mental Floss’

There are two beautiful blue jays chowing down at the dove diner outside my window. A cardinal had swooped in earlier for a bite; a brilliant red sign that today would be a good day. And of course there’s always Kevin the squirrel, the ringleader who determines who can stay and who can go. My city garden is teeming with wildlife adventure; with dozens of sparrows, finches and mockingbirds flocking to the feeder that hangs above the tree stump, aka the 24 hour all/you/can/eat dove diner.

I’ve been wondering why pigeons have become pariahs in many cities. A photographer I follow on Instagram (Quarantine in Queens) posted a picture of a stately pigeon sitting on a lion’s head at the NYC Public Library, and he called the pigeon “dirty.” I was offended. Isn’t a pigeon just like a dove, only bigger? Plus one of my favorite children’s books is “Don’t Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus.” I loved reading all about this insistent, toddleresque, willful pigeon to my Grands when they were toddlers.

In fact as it turns out, pigeons and doves are related. They are part of a large family of birds called Columbidae, which consists of more than 300 species!

 Paul Sweet, the collection manager for the department of ornithology at the American Museum of Natural History, says the difference is more linguistic than taxonomic. The word dove is a word that came into English from the more Nordic languages, whereas pigeon came into English from French.”

https://www.mentalfloss.com/article/554182/what-is-difference-between-pigeons-and-doves

The word “dove’ developed from our Viking ancestors, and “pigeon” from the Normans. People have trained homing pigeons, and kept dovecotes for centuries – which is just a fancy bird house at the top of a structure for pigeons! Despite my bird-feeding mishap of a few weeks ago, I love to start the day by throwing out seeds and nuts for all the ground feeding birds, too big to perch on the feeder.

Is it ironic that I now have a really BIG bird defrosting in my refrigerator? The President may have pardoned Peanut Butter and Jelly, but our Butterball turkey will still preside at the Bride and Groom’s Thanksgiving table this week. I’ll be making my traditional cornbread stuffing and butternut squash casserole. I’m also game to try something new, like ‘fried sage salsa verde,’ since our sage is still growing abundantly.

The Groom’s parents will be flying in from Virginia with Aunt J, and unlike last year we’ll all gather inside! We are all of us boosted with Covid vaccines, plus flu… and even the Grands have had their first shots. I’m still one of very few people in a store with a mask on, and I’ll continue to be masked until mid-December when our babies are fully immunized – unlike a certain quarterback named Aaron Rodger. To me words matter. The truth matters. The health of my family and friends matter. And yes, even perfect strangers matter.

The Bride saw a very sick patient yesterday with Covid. I asked her if their vaccination status affected her medical care, and she thought for a moment. “No,” she told me. She sometimes forgets to ask because it’s assumed, but now they must ask for the hospital record and the CDC I suppose. I was glad that my daughter’s empathy has withstood these ‘trying times.’ I’m not sure that mine would have.

I have no advice for how to deal with relatives you may see this holiday season. You know, the ones who did their own research, wanted to wait and see, or some such nonsense? Put the children’s table in the garage? Put the unvaccinated in the garage? But if you’re migrating or flying south for turkey day, or feathering your nest and staying put, I wish you a happy and peaceful Thanksgiving. And I have some big news…

WE BOUGHT AN OLD HOUSE.

Standing next to the larder inspecting some new beams

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