Use what talents you possess; the world would be very silent if no birds sang there except those that sang best. --Henry Van Dyke
When I was growing up we made (at least) weekly trips to see my grandparents who lived in a little town about 21 miles from us. Many times the trip would take place on a Sunday after church. Also at my grandparents house would be my many, many cousins and my aunts and uncles. The Sunday afternoons we spent eating and playing at my grandparents with cousins and extended family are like little treasures in my mind. It takes just something little to remind me of those days when life was pretty near perfect. Even when we would go to my grandparent's house on days other than those perfect Sunday's, we always found something special to do. On the non-Sunday's when we would arrive, more often than not at least one, if not both, of my grandparents would be seated at the kitchen table. They might be eating or reading the daily paper, looking through mail or seed and flower catalogs, or discussing the price of cattle and wheat. While most friends that I knew called their grandparents the norm, such as "grandma and grandpa", we called ours Pop and Grammie. Grammie and Pop. I can see them sitting at that kitchen table even now as I type this. The kitchen table was round and was placed in front of a huge window that looked out at the woods behind their house. On the window sill of this big window were various books that showed pictures of birds and gave brief descriptions and traits of the different species. The books were well worn. Pop and Grammie could name every bird that flitted through their back yard. Many of the birds were like pets, as they came to the window on a regular basis. Pop and Grammie would tell us stories about the various birds that came to visit. Of course, there was always food in several bird feeders to keep their feathered friends happy. This was such a normal everyday routine watching Pop and Grammie at that kitchen table, talking about their normal everyday routine, that it could easily be forgotten in the recesses of my mind, but instead it is in the Treasured Memories part of my brain. Part of that is fostered by Pop and Grammie themselves. They will not let me forget. It seemed that Pop and Grammie were especially fond of watching the redbirds; usually pairs of redbirds. They loved watching out for the beautiful and elegant cardinal male with his bright red feathers, and his mate, the equally lovely tan cardinal with just the touches of subtle red. In the vast woods that was my grandparents backyard, the redbird easily stood out with his brilliant red plumes. You knew that as soon as you found the male, the female had to be close by. That was like my Pop and Grammie. They were never far apart from each other. Somehow, in my young mind, I related those pairs of redbirds I would see to my Pop and Grammie. It became that when I saw redbirds I instantly thought of Pop and Grammie. As I got older, instead of separating the two thoughts, that one was a set of birds and one was a set of grandparents, it became even more connected in my brain. To this day, I see redbirds---always a pair---- and I KNOW that it IS my Pop and Grammie coming to check on me or coming for a visit. I know that sounds crazy to most, but the times the redbird couples come to my house are always too significant to be just a coincidence. The redbird I have pictured on my blog page is the male that came to visit on Christmas morning several years ago. All five children were home and it was just the seven of us. It was a wonderful Christmas, filled with love and laughter and lots and lots of tradition passed on through my parents and grandparents. We were even using dishes and tablecloths that had been my Grammie's. It was bitterly cold outside, as it always is in northeast Kansas in late December. It was not fit for man nor beast--nor bird-- outside, but as we are sitting at OUR kitchen table eating Christmas brunch I look outside and there are Pop and Grammie----as a redbird couple. My Grammie and Pop had both died years earlier, so my eyes immediately fill with tears because I KNOW that it was their way of paying a visit to me on Christmas morning and checking on my little family. They came right up to the window and stayed for a long, long time. I ran to get the camera, scared they would leave, but even when I went outside they still did not fly away. It was like they agreed to pose for the picture. I called my dad (who is the son of the grandparents I loved so) and told him that Pop and Grammie had come to visit me on Christmas morning. I told him what had happened and he too thought I had been given a visit by Grammie and Pop. My Dad, the one who prides himself on his logic and sensible thought, totally agreed with me that Pop and Grammie had paid me a Christmas morning visit! How happy they must have been that items from their many Christmases together were still being used the same way by two more generations of family. They stayed for a while before flying away. I felt both sadness and happiness that morning. I was sad for a moment wishing I could have that 'one more day' with my grandparents, but very happy that I knew they had come to visit and let me know that they still think of me.