I’ve been to kindergarten. I know the deal. I learned my lessons well, in fact that year in kindergarten in Chatham’s Fish and Game Club across from Fairmount Avenue School was probably the finest hour in my entire 51-year life in public schools.
I learned to take my humble place in a line – even if I am not the leader. I learned to skip (kind-of) and I learned to share, although life has taken me down the dark path of confused contradiction when it comes to sharing lamb chops.
I can share a space – on the highway, if someone passes me, that’s O.K. If someone even cuts in front of me, I can slow down and share the road. I await my proper turn at a 4-way stop. In the words of George II, I’m a helluvaguy. In enclosed spaces, I move over to allow others to share my territory, yet because of those lamb chops, I do admit I take more than a normal share of space.
So recently, with the advent of spring, sharing space around our house has become a challenge for some who also claim it as home. Inside the house, my God-given instinctive sense of extending my personal space is limited. I cannot get away with expanding my territory with used bits of clothing strewn about. Lovie sees to that.
But outside on our deck, next to our grill, there is another challenge.
My trusty gas Weber is on the edge of our deck, in close proximity to a pine tree. The grill has been there for years, ever since I saved up the lucrative earnings from my stint as a twelve-dollar-a-week columnist for the local daily (note to aspiring writers: “Don’t give up your day job”). It took many weeks to earn that $600 grill so I do not take it lightly.
That pine, once a sapling, is now about ten-feet tall, making it head-high for me on our elevated deck. This tree’s presence has invited George and Martha Robin to set up a maternity ward to serve their immediate and future needs. Now here’s the problem…I am willing to share the space but George and Martha ARE NOT willing.
I’ve tried to be diplomatic. I have gone out there with my late afternoon medicinal beverage in hand, sat upon on a molded plastic chair and tried to talk with them. I used a calm voice, even a little sing-song-y. They took immediate exception to my presence, flying away and scolding me from a safe distance! I took out a few painstakingly collected earthworms as a peace offering. Even then, they did not trust my intentions and angrily stayed away. Such ingrates they are!
Now, their nest is in the plastering stage. George is busy flying back and forth with his beak full of mud, getting the ward ready for Martha’s offerings. Martha sits on a branch nearby, observing George’s gallant efforts and sensing the growing eggs in her birdie lady parts, anticipating the blessed event.
What’s a guy to do? I cannot upset the forces of nature – me being the omnivore and testosterone-driven master of the backyard grill versus the very basis of existence for these birds – their primal need to procreate. So who’s to prevail?
It is going to be an interesting summer.