Friday, June 13, 2008

A Bird in the Hand

Dedicated with a big mazal tov to newlyweds Barry and Talia - may you have a long, happy, healthy, prosperous, fruitful, amazing life together!

A story and a question.

I came home during last Sunday’s heat wave to find a tittering flock of children in our back yard.

“Abba, Abba, you’ve got to save the bird, you’ve got to save the bird!!”
“It fell out of the tree! It can’t fly!”
“B’die fall m tree! M fly!”

The kids urgently escorted me from the apple tree to the other end of the yard. The fledgling robin was old enough to hop and they had unintentionally chased it almost out of the yard altogether.

“How do you know it fell from the tree?”

“We watched it!”
“We saw it!”
“Wat it! Sah it!”

Evidently, one of the kids had shaken the tree and caused the little birdie to fall. It didn’t look injured, but it did look distressed. So I did the daddy thing, I got my gardening gloves, certain they smelled sufficiently like dirt and worms so as not to impart my own smell on the thing, and to much excitement of my audience, picked up the little guy and put him back in his nest, low in the apple tree.

There was just one problem.

He refused to stay in his nest.

“Are you sure he fell out of the tree? It looks like maybe he jumped!”

“We watched it! Someone shook the tree and it fell out!”
“We watched it fall out!”
“Fall ow!”

But after three or four attempts, it was clear that nothing short of tying it down was going to get this bird to stay in his nest.

The kids pointed to a pair of robins on a nearby phone line. They were sure that these were the worried parents.

“I think we’re going to have to let the parents take care of the birdie. You guys can watch it, but don’t get close to it, stay far away, OK?

The next day as the heat wave intensified, they went looking for the bird and found it still hopping around, looking very thirsty.

The day after that, they couldn’t find it anymore.

Only later did I find this caution from the Bird Rescue Center of Santa Rosa:

“A chirping baby robin on the ground is most likely telling its parents that it is hungry and it is letting them know where they can find it. Parents coach their fledglings to find suitable cover and feed them even after they are able to fly. Like all parents, adult birds can't be everywhere at once, so if you watch a grounded fledgling for a half an hour you should see one of its parents bringing it several snacks. Keep all pets, children and curious adults away from the area and let the parents carry on with the process of rearing their young.”

Here’s the question for your table: What do you think I think is the best part of this story?

I’ll tell you below. First, here are a few birdie video clips:

OK, here’s my answer....I thought the best part was how the kids told me “someone” shook the tree but didn’t say who. They didn’t want to speak lashon hara.

Shabbat Shalom

PS – last week some people noticed that something was wrong with the numbers. The web version of this Table Talk came out OK, but on the email the exponents disappeared, so that 1018 became 1018! The correct number, written out, should have been 1,000,000,000,000,000,000 for the Talmudic estimate of the number of stars.

Travel/speaking schedule:
June 17 – Chicago - “A New Twist on the Old Game of Love” (downtown business lunch)
June 17 – Deerfield - “The Art of Amazement Part 3”
June 18 - Los Angeles – “How Frustrations are the Key to Successful Dating” (for singles)
June 23 – San Francisco – private meetings
June 24 – Los Angeles - “Jewish Secrets to a Spicy Marriage” (for married men)
June 25 – Los Angeles - “How to help our children get married without interfering (too much)” (for parents)

For details, send an email.

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