A Christmas Chirp

I was moved the other day when a lady in the office told me of a sad incident that happened to a small female red bird by her house.

She was concerned that the red bird’s boyfriend was now facing a cold, lonely winter because he might not find someone new.

There were tears.

As such, this little Christmas story came to me.  For some strange reason, almost like someone was chirping and whispering directly into my mind, I was compelled to write it.

J. DanPerson

In a tree not far from a house in the area the PeoplePersons called St. Louis lived FredBird and Frieda.  They were red birds who, by all red bird standards lived the good life.  They loved and cared for one another.  There was plenty of birdseed to be found and eaten.  And they had raised seven or eight batches of little Fred and Frieda birds, all beautiful, grown and flown away by now.

Now don’t get the idea Fred and Frieda were callous and uncaring because they didn’t know exactly how many little birds they had.  To red birds, three is a very large number, and only little bird genius’s can count to four.  Large numbers and large vocabularies are simply too big for little bird brains.  But they knew what was important.  They’d had many little birds, brought them up right and they were proud.  One was even studying to be a bird doctor.  FredBird bragged about this often.

They lived in an evergreen next to the house of PatPerson.  Frieda loved living in the evergreen because it reminded her of Christmas.  As she used to tell FredBird, it caused her to have Christmas in her little bird heart all year long.  Fred knew this was right because FriedaBird was always loving and very giving.  She was also always cheerful and while doing her little birdwife things, would often simply burst into song.

Frieda loved the PatPerson for this same reason, because she had heard her sing many times as well.  Frieda thought PatPerson sang beautifully, although she used many more words (a lot more than three) than FriedaBird did.  Frieda often wondered if PatPerson wasn’t actually part of the red bird family.  She was pretty sure she was, even though PatPerson seemed pretty independent and didn’t wear the traditional red and brown clothes everyday.  But most of all FriedaBird loved PatPerson because she had a big, loving, caring sensitive birdheart just like FriedaBird had.

FriedaBird would often sit on PatPerson’s porch and talk to her by chirping the two or three favorite words she had in her vocabulary.  These were mainly about love, food and caring.  Come to think of it, there isn’t much else in life that really matters, is there?  And while PatPerson never seemed to reply in any intelligible way, Frieda knew she agreed and cared deeply for her feathered friends.  Frieda would often tell FredBird they had such a wonderful neighbor.  FredBird agreed and was kind of mushy on PatPerson himself, although don’t get the wrong impression here and think it was something unfaithful to FriedaBird.  It wasn’t anything like that, really.

It was Christmas time.  Actually it was December 8, but red birds celebrate Christmas for the entire month of December, a practice the PeoplePersons would be wise to take up also.  FriedaBird had just been shopping and she was flying home with her little birdbags clutched in her feet.  Now Frieda wasn’t a very good flyer.  I mean, she could fly okay, but she was kind of careless and would turn corners real fast without signaling first with her birdwing outstretched in the direction she intended to go.  She’d had more than a few bird wrecks in her time.

So as she was coming around PatPerson’s house, doing every bit of 35 knots airspeed, she hung a hard right which needed to be immediately followed by a hard left.  But Frieda, thinking about FredBird, got distracted for one fateful second too long, and smashed head-on into the picture window of PatPerson’s house.  It was curtains for FriedaBird.  Lights out!  Instantly and with no pain she was in little bird heaven.

As she looked down toward earth, she saw the PatPerson and how upset she was to see her little bird body laying there on the porch.  And she saw FredBird and how grief stricken he was when he found her, pale and lifeless.  It was a real bird tragedy.

Now tragedy is what you make of it, and understandably FredBird wasn’t doing so well with this at first.  He took to drinking in the evenings and I mean some kind of real power bird drinking.  He lowered the level of his Jack Daniels bottle by at least a half an inch.  This is a lot by bird standards.  Birds buy the little airline bottles of booze, and one will usually last a year or two.  But at this rate, FredBird was going to kill his bottle off in about three and a half months.  Things just weren’t good.

FredBird tried, I mean he really tried to do something constructive and pull out of it.  He knew loneliness was his main problem.  So he ran a little personal ad in the RedBird Times.  It read…

For those of you unfamiliar with the personals in the RedBird Times, WMRB stands for Widowed Male Red Bird, FRB is Female Red Bird and LTNR is long term nesting relationship.  It was a pretty good ad by any standard.

And FredBird got lots of replies.  But he was still so down he could scarcely bring himself to respond to any of them.  Finally, out of desperation, he made a date to meet one of the lady redbirds who had answered his ad.  But she had so much lipstick on her beak, he was afraid he would slide off if he kissed her, so they didn’t make it.  He was real depressed after that and didn’t go out anymore.  FredBird kept pulling (actually pecking) on his little bottle of Jack and flying into work late every morning.  It was going to be a long, cold winter.

Things would have continued on this low note except for the smart, kind and loving heart of FriedaBird.  Now FriedaBird might not have been real good with numbers, I mean two was big and three a real stretch, but she was very smart in other ways that really counted.

You see, FriedaBird had cared so much for FredBird that she had made a special arrangement with her close friend Fredita.  Fredita was a classy little Latin Lady bird who didn’t wear too much lipstick on her beak and had high standards when it came to guy birds.  She had never met one that was up to her level, so she hadn’t nested yet.  FriedaBird knew Fredita was kind of sweet on FredBird and so one day when they were having one of their girl bird to bird talks they made a secret arrangement.

FriedaBird told Fredita if anything ever happened to her, would she please step into FredBird’s life and take care of him.  This was kind of like bird life insurance, actually.  And when you think about it, it had to be this way.  After all, little birds are just not adept at handling dollar bills in their scratchy little bird feet in order to pay the premiums for regular life insurance as we know it.

So the smart and caring ones cover each other by special arrangements such as this.  Of course, FriedaBird was very smart and caring, especially when it came to FredBird.  So her and Fredita made this special arrangement, all without FredBird knowing about it.  It was like Frieda had some kind of special powers or premonition or something.

Anyhow Fredita was hanging down at South Beach in Miami dealing with her own problems at the time of Frieda’s accident.  It seemed she couldn’t even find a single decent RedBird for a date, much less for a long term nesting relationship.  Sure, lots of them looked really good with their flashy red swim suits and swollen pectorals (really important to birds that fly).  But they had no substance.  She’d just told a friend of hers at the bird bar that she’d waded in puddles less shallow than some of these jerks.  It was about then that she got word of Frieda’s untimely end.  Leaving her drink unfinished, she flew out of the bar, a little irregular at first, and then more or less straight to FredBird’s place in St. Louis.

A few nights later she arrived.  FredBird was overjoyed to see her.  And in her subtle and nurturing female ways she started pulling him out of his bird funk.  Although Fred wanted to, he was reluctant to go beyond friendship with Fredita because he felt it would be disloyal to his special memories of Frieda.

Believe it or not, Fred was this kind of a loyal guy bird.  But Fredita told him Frieda wanted it this way, really, and eventually he got past most of his emotional roadblocks to new love.  And the next night when Fredita came out in some of the tallest heels he’d ever seen (about a quarter of an inch high) and some bright red garters from Fredericks of Hollywood, FredBird cleared all his remaining emotional baggage in about one tenth of a nanosecond.

I’m not going to describe many more details here, but lets just say it had been a long time (a few days in bird time) for FredBird and Fredita was one hot blooded little chick that had been saving up a lotta stuff that had to come out.  Every bit of it came out that night and of all things, it was late December 24th, Christmas Eve when all of this happened.  As FredBird was resting on the limb next to Fredita, wishing he hadn’t given up smoking and thinking about asking her if it was good for her too, the clock rolled over past midnight.  It was Christmas.

And from way up in the sky, a long, shimmering piece of moon light shown down on the two of them.  From her perch in the reinbirdnation waiting station, Frieda looked down and smiled.  “Merry Christmas, FredBird,” she whispered.  And she smiled even wider when she thought about what she was going to do next.

You see, as a special concession to Frieda, because she had led such a caring and loving life, the BigBird had told her she could communicate with or plant dreams in the minds of those she loved who were still back on earth.

And she had been such a good bird, she was also allowed to have some say in how her next bird life was going to come out.  It’s kind of like, in some way, we create our own fate by our actions.  And Frieda knew exactly how she wanted the next life to go.  She wanted to be back with FredBird and do it pretty much the same way all over again, including having her favorite neighbor PatPerson and living in the same pine tree that would keep Christmas in her soul at all times.

Really, the only thing she was going to do different was to take a lot of flyers ed courses and get serious about being a really good and safe flyer.  The BigBird had smiled and granted her all these wishes because she had asked for something that would make her an even better bird in her next life and, well, wasn’t this exactly why he had created the bird reincarnation plan in the first place.  He wished some of the PeoplePersons would catch hold of this idea as well, but that’s another thought for another time.

Christmas evening as FredBird slept with his wing draped over Fredita to keep her warm, he had a most wonderful dream about Frieda.  She was talking to him, telling him everything was going to be okay, that she had picked Fredita for him as her bird insurance policy, and most of all that they were going to be together soon and do their entire wonderful life all over again living next to PatPerson.

FredBird woke up feeling wonderful.  He didn’t remember much of the dream because he was a guy bird and really couldn’t think of more than one thing at a time.  And really, if he’d been carrying thoughts of Frieda and Fredita in his head all at once, he’d have gotten all confused and maybe some of his old hang-ups would have come back.

But Frieda knew all of this and knew she had made him feel good, even if he couldn’t remember.  Making him feel good was all that mattered to her.  She’d keep track of the details.  And she was happy, just knowing he was happy.  Of course she was also extra happy knowing they had future plans together.  All things considered, life (or lives) was working out okay.

But Frieda had one more thing to do.  She knew PatPerson had been really upset about her untimely demise.  PatPerson had actually thought about blaming her cats.  And although cats weren’t the most favorite things on Frieda’s list, she recognized them as some of God’s creatures who almost had a legitimate right to be on planet earth.  So she needed to let PatPerson know that everything was okay.  This was important so as to spare the cats, and even more so because she wanted PatPerson to not be sad anymore.

So early one Saturday morning, about 5:52 a.m. to be exact, as DanPerson, an Illinois man who knew PatPerson at work, was making his first cup of coffee for the day, she started whispering this story directly into his mind.  She knew he would be the right person to tell it to because he was kind of a flexible guy who liked both birds and cats.  He also liked to write, and she knew he would put all this down on paper, and then he would share it with PatPerson, who would keep it and read it every Christmas.  Frieda knew that this would give her and FredBird a sort of bird immortality and she really like this idea a lot.  After all, we all live on forever in the memories of those we love, don’t we?

And so, sure enough, as DanPerson was sipping on his cup of coffee before the sun came up, he heard these ideas whispered into his mind.  Actually, he thought they were his ideas, but of course we know they weren’t.  Frieda was just planting them there to get them to PatPerson.  And so, he opened up his portable PC, as authors do these days, made a fire in the fireplace, and wrote this story.  Four cups of coffee later it was written.  That is to say, at least the first draft was complete.

Frieda knew that DanPerson would revise it and revise it, ad infinitum (she knew a little Latin also).  He was kind of a perfectionist/procrastinator at times.  So she put one more thought in DanPerson’s head.  She said, DanPerson, you must focus on this story until it’s complete and give it to PatPerson before Christmas so she won’t feel bad any more.  And oh, by the way DanPerson, you need to get more focused and complete your writing projects one at a time.  If you do this you will become a better person in this life and you may have some really good options to choose from in the next one.

And so DanPerson took these things to heart, and wrote the story to completion and resolved to be a more focused man.  Some would say that Frieda is almost a BirdSaint for just this act by itself, and if folks were to push that argument, it would be hard to go against it.

But BirdSaint or no, having taken care of those she loved, Frieda felt very tired.  She knew it was time to take the big sleep that would begin her reinbirdnation.  So she dug her little feet into the branch of a nearby celestial tree, leaned up against the trunk and let herself relax.

Her last little bird thoughts were about FredBird and the nice PatPerson who had cared so much about him.  And as her little bird eyelids lowered further and further, you could see just the hint of a smile at the edges of her beak.  All was well as Frieda began moving on to her next bird life full of love and contentment.

A pure, white, sparkling celestial snow started to fall softly.  Everything became silent, except for one last faint holiday chirp that slipped from the side of her drooping little beak.  Then she dropped off to sleep, dreaming of the wonderful future yet to be, in the twilight of that Christmas day.  The End

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