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February, 2004

A Pigeon Tale

by Valerie

Late last month, I traveled to Ocala, FL, to visit with my mother and father. On the evening of the first day I was there, my cousin, Thomasine, and her husband, Bob, were driving through Ocala on their way from Illinois to south Florida for a vacation. They had arranged to stop for dinner at a local Cracker Barrel restaurant, and we met them there.

Thomasine and Bob, Ocala, Florida, Jan., 2004

Having not seen Thomasine for many years, I had a marvelous time catching up with her on each other's news and also hearing about the rest of the family. In fact, we managed to spend around 3 hours at the restaurant, chattering away.

One thing that we talked about was a pet pigeon that Thomasine and her family had for awhile. I was quite young at the time this occurred, and I vaguely remembered something in a box under the sink in their kitchen as well as a bird inside the house, but the whole story had either faded from my memory or I had never known it all in the first place.

It seems that when he was working for the city of Joliet my uncle Tommy had found the baby pigeon after it fell out of its nest. He brought the bird home, and they kept it in a box under the kitchen sink. Thomasine said that she remembered it always made little cheeping sounds for food, then suddenly one day it started making cooing sounds instead, and she thought "It's grown up!" They kept the bird, named Blackie, in the kitchen all winter, then let it outside in the spring. Blackie followed my cousins to school and back, and hung around their yard, always landing on their fingers when they called. He also came in the screened porch every night to sleep. When he would be feeding along with other birds and people approached, Blackie would act startled about the other birds flying away, as if he couldn't figure out what there was to be scared of. Towards the end of summer, Blackie left and was gone for a couple weeks, and everyone assumed he was gone for good. However, he reappeared with a mate, acted like he wanted everyone to see his partner, but refused to come in the house anymore. Thomasine said it really seemed like Blackie just came back to say good-bye.

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