By: Judith Hargett
I’ll have to write fast. I am hostess for some unwelcome guests. They showed up uninvited and are expecting food and lodging. They can’t be left unattended for long. Their very presence puts me at odds with good humor. Yes, I know. I sound like the Scrooge of the hostess world. We are quite clearly directed to be hospitable by the Apostle Peter: “Be hospitable to one another without complaint.”
(I Peter 4:9). Still, the quicker these free loaders are gone, the happier I’ll be.
Oh. Now there’s a funny sight. A glance out the window reveals a squirrel versus bird battle playing out in the front yard. Mockingbird has chased squirrel across the driveway where it has sprinted up a tree. Bluebird considered this an invasion of his territory and has chased squirrel back down the tree. Mockingbird is waiting and back up the tree squirrel goes. Eventually squirrel figures out his plan is not working and makes a dash across the yard with the mockingbird in hot pursuit. I almost feel sorry for squirrel, then I remember the sunflowers.
I had been patiently watching our sunflowers grow from seedlings to tall, strapping plants. They were on target to be in full bloom by the 4th of July. The flowers were close to the spot where we hang our flag, and they make a very pretty picture with the flag waving in the breeze behind them. I looked out the window recently and saw the flowers bent over, as if they’d eaten something disagreeable. Further inspection revealed they were broken, their sunny little faces already losing their golden halo of petals. There was little doubt who the culprits were. It was common practice for the squirrels to leap down from the bird feeder in that area, with no regard for where they landed.
The flower bed where the sunflowers live seems to be an attractive nuisance to the animal populace. It’s our fault. We have three birdfeeders in it. An occasional raccoon will stop in for a snack along with the pestiferous squirrels who camp out there. Recently, two hunting dogs passed through the yard and immediately treed a squirrel in this flower bed. They were so happy; you could tell they were smiling. Their tails were wagging and they were barking in delight at their freedom as well as their hunting achievement. They, of course, being interlopers…as well as being dogs…had no concern for the plants they’d trampled chasing their beady eyed, bushy tailed quarry.
All this aggravation is the result of our generosity to the bird populace. Husband, while closely eyeing a fat dove, states if times get tough we may have to eat some of our feathered friends, as well as the squirrels and maybe the raccoons…but not stray dogs… so he’s willing to continue feeding the birds. Plus we enjoy watching them and listening to their singing. But I am aggrieved with them as well. They love to perch on our mailbox and survey their territory. In a great show of disrespect, they have turned our mailbox into their outhouse. This has put me in the delicate position of trying to outwit a bird as I try to figure a way to stop this behavior. (You may recall from one of my earlier writings that I was unsuccessful when matching wits with a squirrel.) In the meantime I have to clean their Porto Mailbox Potty daily out of concern our mail carrier will stop delivering our mail.
I’d better get back to those unwelcome guests I mentioned earlier. They’re beginning to make their presence known again, wandering into areas that should definitely be off limits. I am reminded of another verse on hospitality. This one from the Apostle Paul: “I have shewed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive’” (Acts 20:35). Well. I certainly want to be giving to my Christian brothers and sisters and to the weak; and I will continue to feed these ungrateful birds, but I will not welcome this family of chiggers that has taken me hostage.