Monday, August 6, 2012

As published in the Newport (TN) Plain Talk

Jul 12, 2012

Column Number: FM 1228

This is the column for which you have all been waiting. You have all been asking for this subject to come front and center. Those of you familiar with this title are probably thinking about catfish right about now; but since I am seriously “fishermanly” challenged, that is not what is going on in the old grey matter.

No, I am thinking about an incident that presented itself outside my bay window the other day; and it involves some of my critters!

Ok, so where do I start? Since June was a big month birthdaywise around the Frogpond Five Minute Headquarters, we decided to celebrate all of them together in one big swell foop; and since my kids are too cheap to buy individual gifts, we included Dads’ and Moms’ Days in that too – and, you guessed it, Miss ‘Nita and I got one gift between us (I told you they were cheap; they say frugal; tomato – tomahto).

Miss ‘Nita and I found ourselves to be the proud owners of a genuine high speed, down draft, double clutching, e-flat bird feeder (not installed nor assembled, batteries not included, and for best results do not remove from plastic bag); so waddiyougonnado?

Well, you know what they always say – “Don’t let the bird feeder get you down”; so, I put my seven years of high school physics 101 to work and figured out how to assemble the thing and fill the thing and hang the thing; I did so with great gusto and awaited my first customer.

The angry birds (the great big ole black noisy critters) got the word first (they must be on facebook) and flooded the front forty like it was a Hitchcock movie. They first lit in on the droppings (the bird seed type, not the other type) that I had spilled in my excursion into assembly, fillery, and hangery.

They protected their four square feet of turf like those storm troopers outside the Star Wars Canteen. But, here came a male blue jay.

Now, normally, I don’t allow these beautiful but obnoxious critters through my electric critter fence; but this one got through and I wanted to watch the show. He went up on top; and, although the angry birds didn't like him being up there, they were all too busy feeding off the bottom, they didn’t issue anything stronger than a “caw’ or two – and he didn’t pay them no mind.

Now, comes a male red bird – one of my favorites; and he immediately went up top. Actually, he had read the manual on “How To Influence Birds and Make Feathered Friends” and began kicking out enough bird seed for the bottom feeders to staff a wedding processional; but they didn’t get the message and began to object because he was “raining on their parade”; and one of them flew up and ran “Red” out of Dodge.

He came back again and again, and I guess the angry birds got tired (or full) and let him have the whole café; and he brought in his girl. She tried a little bottom feeding herself but she was not built for that and, after a sheepish little look up top, she flew up and began to help herself. Red was flying around in protective cover like a “harrier” around a “carrier”. NOTE; you can see this on the ‘net under “carrier harriers”.

Next came the little guys, and even a confused hummer. He had not gotten the memo that a hummer feeder will be next Mom’s/Dad’s Day.

These guys wanted fresh food; they were not satisfied with road kill scattered on the bottom. Even a squirrel checked it out. He/she/it climbed the nearby oak and stretched out but couldn’t reach the metal pole. Then, he went to the ground and looked over the possibilities of a leap into the air; no go. His looks upward told me he was considering climbing the metal pole and, yep, he tried. Got up a foot or two, and then slid back down.

Meanwhile, “Red” came back and kicked him some dregs out – trying to make peace, you know? Didn’t work, Chip (or Dale – never could tell them apart) wanted up top like the big boys and tried and tried and cried and cried. Talk about frustrated! He was not content to bottom feed; but not equipped to top feed.

Surprise, the next day, Chip/Dale had scratched off enough metal filings to enable a climb to the top and for a while, he was king of the hill, scattering droppings to all the unfortunates down below.

I did the only manly thing I could do. I scared him off and greased the pole! I know! I know! I know what “Radar” O’Reilly (no kin to Bill) said in an episode of “Mash”: “Critters is people too”; but enough was enough.

The rest of the story will come down the yellow brick soon; but, boys and girls, what have we learned today?

You, my dear friend, are special acts of God’s Creation; and you are not designed to feed off the dregs of the world, taking a little here and a little there from the devil and his ilk. You were designed to be on top; as a special breed – a Child of the Living God!

Are you living up to your potential? No? Don’t know how to get back on top? I do; and I’ll surely share!

Tom Mooty writes the Five Minute Column for the Thursday and Weekend Editions of the Newport Plain Talk. This excursion into literary mis-excellence also appears on the website – Your comments are appreciated (especially the good ones) which can be sent to P.O. Box 851, Newport; or to

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