Saturday, June 14, 2014

Red Ryder and His Peace Maker

House Sparrow
In the early 1890's a homesick Englishman named Nicholas Pike brought 50 House Sparrows from England and released them in Brooklyn, New York.

Today, the house sparrow is the most common bird in America and one of the meanest, aggressive and most obnoxious in the world. They have driven our native birds like the lovable, peace loving Bluebirds and Purple Martins out of house and home. The house Sparrows are ferocious fighters and will evict ANY nesting bird from a cavity and take over the site. They tear up nests, break eggs, kill and toss out nestlings and adults and then build their nest right on top of the carnage.

They are the terrorists of the bird kingdom.

The Gentle Blue Bird
I get mad just reading about those damn birds, so you  can imagine how upset our classmate, the
Reverend Don Nance felt sitting on his porch in the mountains of Virginia watching Osama Bin Sparrow and his henchmen constantly attacking the Bluebird family that had taken up residence in his backyard.

It would have been upsetting enough to make any preacher cuss, and knowing Don like I do, I'm sure he dropped at least a couple of "Dag Nabbits" that caused the chinaware to shake.

And then he acted.

He went right down to the local Walmart and purchased a...

...well, his first choice of weapons was a Cannon, but he had cooled down by the time he got to the store and bought a Red Ryder BB gun instead.

After all, he had no intention of killing the sparrows....just scaring them away from the Bluebird's nest until the Blue Bird eggs had a chance to hatch and the baby birds survive.

Ralphie from Xmas Story
Meanwhile, Letty went into her wifely/Motherly default mode and expressed her opinion that buying a BB gun was probably not a good idea. "You could put out your eye with that thing, and......and...who knows what."

Those last three words were downright prophetic.

I like stories with happy endings....and this one ended happily... for the Bluebirds. Don, and Red Ryder, kept the evil sparrows at bay while Junior Bluebird and his feathered sister graduated from the nest and lived happily ever after.

And peace and tranquility returned to the sleepy community of Wytheville, Virginia.

Until that loud knock at the Nance door.

"Open up, it's the Police."

Well, they really didn't say that, but anytime you see the Police standing at your door, they might as well have announced themselves like that.  They actually said, "Reverend Nance, we are sorry to bother you but there has been some vandalism in this neighborhood lately and we wondered if you have seen any teenagers wandering around with BB guns. Your next door neighbor, had his expensive picture window shot out the other day with a BB gun.

Don realized immediately that the "jig was up" and admitted his guilt even though it was hard to believe that an errant BB shot of his would travel a distance of 300 yards, and blow out the picture window of his neighbors house. The pellet was still in the home and sure enough it was silver, just like the ones he was using.

Don paid for all the damage and the case was closed.

Nevertheless, I sure wouldn't have wanted to be in Don's shoes when he had to explain to the police why a retired 79 year old preacher happened to be terrorizing the neighborhood with a BB gun.

"You see, officer, in 1890, a homesick Englishman named Nicholas Pike brought 50 House Sparrows to Brooklyn New York from England...."

I bet they'll be talking about this for years down at Police Headquarters.