Now for the sake of all of you that need to be brought up to speed, I am going to veer off for a moment.
my dad was in the hospital we had a conversation. It was the conversation you never look forward to, but are glad
that you had. We knew the end was coming, at least the end as we know it. I wanted to be sure we didn’t loose ‘touch.’
Dad had a great love of nature. We always had together moments sharing Lawson Deli breakfasts and coffee
at Bay Park ...watching the flocks of geese on the water. Even watching them at my home, which at the time was on the water,
only there it was flocks of Brant. We would listen to the murmur and purr the flock was conducting like an orchestra of
sorts. It was peaceful, comforting and allowed us to just quietly be.
I said ‘Dad? Remember how we
used to watch the birds?’ He nodded. ‘I will always know you are with me when I see the birds
fly.’ He smiled and nodded securely... this was fitting and a perfect sign for both of us.
was gone, I sat at my kitchen table with my blinds wide open. Try as I might, I could not find one bird. I was so mad... and
so sad. How could this be? There are always birds. ‘You said you would be with me. Where are
you!?’ Clearly I was having a moment. I sat there crying, waiting for the flocks to appear... it wasn’t
Then a ‘funny’ thing happened. This little bird - one lone little bird - flew straight
for me as I sat at my table. I flinched, for a moment thinking I was going to get hit. Only it wasn’t me that got hit,
it was the window. The little bird dropped to the ground in an instant. In the same instant I was outside trying to revive
this poor creature. There I was in my pajamas and pink fuzzy slippers, holding this bird now crying and laughing. Thank goodness
it was early, for the funny farm would have surely been put on notice. I could see so clearly my father laughing
his demented laugh. Dad and his odd humor, there were many times that he was the only one that
understood it. But this time, I got it. If the flock was there I wouldn’t have known if it was him or just coincidence.
This was no coincidence.
Frank and the kids were still sleeping. I couldn’t share this with them now. But James
would be awake... My brother-in-law, more like brother, would surely offer some mental stability right now. James has been
a part of our family forever. The relationship started when his Mom had trouble getting him to go to school. Dad was summoned
as the morning taxi driver/probation officer. Every day we would take him to school. Then as the relationship grew, it merged
into taking him on our family trips. Soon our trips were not complete unless James was with us. There are many wonderful memories
that I will surely chronicle at a later date. But for now it’s about this phone call. The phone call that started it
all. I knew he would be up... he’s like me in that respect - always up early and he would have his cell phone.
‘James! Your not going to believe this!’ I told him what just happened. He was a bit more surprised
than I was use to. You see James is the guys guy. The guy that chops the heads off of chickens with Chickie in PA. The guy
that broke - with his bare hands - the neck of the deer that mistakenly ran in front of his truck. There was nothing
around to put the poor animal out of her misery. So after he sat on the side of the road hugging the wounded animal - one
by the way he is allergic to - he did the only merciful thing he could think of. Not that he didn’t shed a tear - for
I know otherwise - he did something many could not. So now here is James quite excited about what I was telling him.
‘Nancy, you don’t understand. The same thing just happened to me, only my bird flew away!!’
We both were in awe, and although we were immensely sad by the weight of the day, we laughed at Dad and his humor from beyond.
This is how I got thru my fathers funeral. I kept that poor little bird for six weeks. It was the proof I needed that it really
Then there was the time we all were fighting... to the point of not having Easter together... and just
then a bird flew into the window.
Or the time I went to a distant family members funeral - after reconnecting
by a random phone call ...which came about from this overwhelming feeling I had to look in the white
pages for any other Hagenmayer’s... only to find that they were just talking about us and ‘What
in heavens name prompted’ me to call!!’ I though for sure I would get shit on by every bird imaginable
for cohorting with people that Dad left off with so badly.
On the drive home I called Frank to tell him how everything
went. I was on Nassau Blvd. when a squirrel ran in front of the car. It stopped in the middle of the road, and stayed there.
So much so that I had to tell Frank to hold on so I could navigate around it. This squirrel just stared me down. It was as
if it was making sure I was looking. Usually they run off, you know that whole ‘road kill’ thing. Not this one.
And to boot it had something in its mouth. Guess what? A live bird! Yes! The poor bird. It
was flapping its one exposed wing, the other was being held by the squirrel. It sure seemed that once I noted what I saw,
and only then, did the squirrel run off. Well at least I didn’t get shit on... Dad was having fun.
was also the time Frank was placating me for thinking my father was communicating thru birds. I was folding laundry, he was
standing there watching. "Okay, honey, whatever works for you.’ I was frustrated by the
tonality of his comments. Still I had to wonder - I must be crazy. Just then the sound machine - the one across the
room, the one that is always on white noise - turned on all by itself... on guess what? Chirping birds!
Yes! I never have it on chirping birds! Frank just looked at me. What could he say. The argument was over. I laughed, dropping
my laundry. Frank looked around the room, called out ‘Hi Charlie!’ and waved to the spirits hiding
in the air. He then turned and left the room. He hasn’t placated me since.
Then there was the time that Alex was
upset because Pop Pop didn’t get to see all that he was learning in school... especially speaking Spanish. I had to
comfort him so he would go to school. When he came home he was crying again. Here’s the conversation. ‘Mommy,
you are NEVER going to believe what happened today during Spanish class! A bird flew right into the window and DIED!!! It
was disgusting. Its eyeball popped out and stuck to the window. The teacher had to call the janitor to clean it. Kids were
getting sick...’ He continued... but I couldn’t hear... because I was too busy laughing. Imagine Alex’s
perplexed face. His mother had seriously lost it. I knew that was once again my father... in his own demented, yet humorous,
way telling Alex that he WAS seeing everything.
I could go on and on. But I will only tell you one more for now. I
was having a particularly hard day missing dad. On this day I also had a new client. Such a hard thing to do - go to work
when you just want to curl up into a ball. But here I was. She was a Doctor so I really wanted to give a good impression.
A blubbering idiot would simply not do. As my tears ran down my face I maneuvered so they wouldn’t fall on her, she
was face down and couldn’t see me. I tilted my head back as I worked, partly to stop the tears and partly to look at
the lighting in the ceiling. In my head I had this conversation. ‘Dad, I really need a sure sign. I swear I
think I am going crazy. Could all these bird things just be odd coincidences? Have I gone mad? I need a bird to fly in this
room. Oh! I really have lost it! Look at this room...’ My treatment room was small. The light had
one of those typical grates covering it. This is where I wanted the bird to fly out of. Was that too much to ask?
Be careful what you ask for... isn’t that the saying?
Well my clients phone began to ring... or should
I say chirp. Lots of chirps. A wonderful plethora of singing birds. I never heard of that for a telephone ring, but there
it was. I started to cry. So much for professionalism, and now I had to explain to her why I was crying. I felt such the fool.
She wasn’t upset by my lack of professional behavior, however, she was upset by my story. She, too, started to cry...
for only moments before this appointment she fidgeted unsuccessfully with her phone trying to find how to change to different
ringers. She couldn’t figure it out, and she didn’t want to be late for her massage appointment so she left it
till later. She didn’t even know that she had the ‘singing bird’ tones on her phone. It was very moving.
Leave it to a cell phone to make me feel connected.
So now back to the dog choosing a bird. You can see my surprise...
or the actual lack of surprise. I am back to wondering if Dad had some input with this dog. The coincidence of the
date, even the freckles on her ears.... and now this. All day I see my puppy with this bird... this stuffed, quacking
each time she bites it, bird. Dad is still up to his tricks. I am glad he switched to stuffed toys... the real birds
have suffered from him enough.