Al Batt d
Birds defined the seasons, and along with school and weather, helped measure our days. It had begun to rain. “What causes rain?” my
father asked. A pop quiz.
“The weatherman,” I
“Rain is the tears of birds,”
“Why are the birds crying?” I
“Because it’s raining.”
I’d been outside, playing bas-
ketball. I was goal-oriented. I’d
played a game of HORSE. The
first player attempted to make a
basket (the hoop without a net
was hung outside on the west
end of the chicken house) from
a certain spot and in a par-
ticular way, as explained to the
other participants beforehand.
If the shot was successful, the
subsequent player had to make
I DON’T KNOW WHO LET
THE DOGS OUT, BUT I LET
THE BIRD IN
a player failed to duplicate the
shot, he acquired a letter, starting with H. If the first player
missed a shot, control moved to
the next player. Whenever any
player spelled “horse,” he lost.
I’d played against our horse. I’d
I went back outside to
retrieve my basketball. Western
meadowlarks provided the
background music as I walked
back to the house in a light rain.
I opened the door of our old
farmhouse. It’s my habit to do
that before I go inside. I’m appreciative of a junior-high teacher
who taught me to do that. Those
English teachers know things.
The advice didn’t arrive in time to
prevent me from having a crooked
nose, but it saved some wear and
tear on my beak.
I’d just opened the door
when— suffering song sparrows!—