1928 - Alderson High School - 1968


For The Birds

Herman King - June 16, 2011

I awoke this morning to hear my favorite singer, in this case a songbird. The northern cardinal became Virginia's official state bird in 1950. It is so in seven states, including West Virginia whose state bird was once the tufted titmouse before switching to the cardinal. The tufted titmouse is a cute but inconspicuous bird usually nesting near a rail fence. I had trouble finding the titmouse on my daily walks. There's no problem finding a cardinal. I know it's singing and colorful feathers are meant to attract a mate but it's also a gift for us humans. My brother once asked me "what would the world be like without birds?" I replied "a sadder place. ''I love the voices of Bing Crosby, Nat King Cole and Mario Lanza. But they were mediocrities compared to the songbirds. Of course my favorite is the mocking bird. It has the widest repertoire. When I lived in Lewisburg, I heard one mimic a  a whippoorwill. That mocking bird must have had insomnia! They can imitate any sound. One man became frustrated because a mocking bird would flute his garage door open and close. A catbird is a member of the same family. So  someone saying "you're for the birds," could be speaking about me. I once admired Theodore Roosevelt. Then I read a letter he wrote (I believe to a family member) boasting about how many birds he had shot that day. The list included several small songbirds. He is no longer on my list of great presidents.

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