I’m in Love with a Pigeon

I’ve always had this mild bird obsession. I guess it started when I was a kid and saved this baby bird that had fallen out of the nest–or so I thought. I believe I’ve mentioned that I grew up on a farm with a herd of cats. Well, as hungry as these cats usually were, you can imagine what they would do if a baby bird literally dropped out of the sky right in front of them. Fortunately, I saw it happen and snatched up this baby bird before Chubbette Checkers (named Chubby Checkers until I found out she was a girl) or Caesar (crazy cat whose tongue was permanently sticking out the side of its mouth) could pounce on it. I put the bird in a cage and waited for it to be big enough to fly away on its own. Which I guess, according to me, was approximately 4 hours. I’m sure you can guess the rest. My hands cupping that baby bird, gently tossing it into the air with a “Go free!” and a little tear of “they-grow-up-so-fast” pride. And that bird did fly free. For about 3 seconds. And then it fell to the ground and hopped under the car. Where it was promptly devoured by a cat.

After therapy (which consisted of my mom yelling, “Get over it already!” sometime during my third straight day of crying), I was able to love again. This time it was a parakeet. I can’t recall his name—I’m pretty sure I’ve blocked it out—but I know he was blue. And messy. And sometimes loud. But that didn’t make it any easier when I came home from school one day to find his cage knocked over and Mr. Thomas, one of our lovely cats, leaving the scene of the crime with a feather sticking out of his mouth. I think he even did a little kitty-burp. Incidentally, “Mr. Thomas” was also the name of our superintendent, which caused a little confusion when I called my mom at work, crying, “Mr. Thomas killed our bird!”

There were still more birds after that. Ross Perot, our dove who thought he was an eagle. Fluffy, the cockatiel my coworker rescued from her deck and I volunteered to take home “because it will be fun to have a bird.” (Fluffy, by the way, hates people.) All of the hawks my mom taught me to wave at along the side of the highway because “they always look so lonely.” The big vulture that perched ominously on top of my house one afternoon.

But none of them compare to Pigeon.

He’s sassy. He’s determined. He’s a bird who knows what he wants and isn’t afraid to beg, bargain, or pull a guilt trip to get it.

He has mood swings almost as drastic as mine—and he reserves the right to change his mind about anything at any time.

He likes hot dogs.

And he really wants to drive a bus. (C’mon, is that too much to ask?)

His latest request? He really REALLY wants a puppy. Bad.

Yes, I’m talking about Pigeon from Mo Willems‘ crazy-hilarious, wit-irific books. Tonight, as Husband and I spent our 13th anniversary running errands at Target with two of our three boys (I think that’s what Brad and Angelina did on their last anniversary too), Husband held up a copy of Willems’ latest book, Pigeon Wants a Puppy, and my heart nearly stopped. I don’t know who was more excited, the kids or Brian and me. “Can we get it? Pleeeease?” I asked, batting my eyelashes. Husband gave the okay, and I did a Tiger Woods fist pump in my head.

We opened the book tonight like it was the Dead Sea Scrolls or something. “Careful, CAREFUL, boys! Don’t crease the spine!!!” Boy #2 read it aloud. And we laughed and laughed and laughed until we were on the verge of tears.

Seriously, what does this say about me? I just love that damn pigeon! He completely cracks me up more than I think any not-fictional-character, or human even, does! I dream about wearing Pigeon pajamas to bed snuggling with my Pigeon plush doll (Pigeon wants to stay up late, too, by the way). When people ask me, “What kind of books do you like to read?” my thoughts don’t immediately go to John Irving or Alice Walker like any other good English major. Nope. Instead, I see Pigeon with that wild look in his eyes, yelling, “I’M NOT TIRED!!!!!!!”

So much for the pretense. I’m not going to hide it anymore. I’m in love with a Pigeon.

It is what it is.


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