Grandma’s “Chickens”

Posted by on Jun 18, 2013 in Blog, Home Is Where The Story Starts, Uncategorized |

We slept with the window open last night and I awoke to the sound of the birds chirping this morning. I love hearing birds sing. They are so joyful and can cheer me up even when I’m blue. I also love sitting on my porch where I can watch the birds flitting in and out of the big maple tree in the yard.

On our recent trip out west we went to my cousin’s ranch and traveled up into the hills to see the place of my daddy’s birth. It was an awesome day. We were thrilled with every part of it and would have loved to have stayed longer, but we needed to get on the road.

A couple of miles from my cousin’s ranch we heard a bird. We recognized it right away. It was the Western Meadowlark. I glanced out the window and there it was, sitting on the fencepost along the road. I couldn’t believe it. The bird sitting on the fencepost singing its little heart out  looked just like the one I sent to Grandma Jones in the mail.

In the mail? Yep, you read it right!

One day I was in the grocery store in Newberry, South Carolina when something caught my eye over by the card section. There was a rack of stuffed toy birds from the Audubon Society. When you pushed on top they chirped with the actual real-to-life bird call. I picked out two, the Western Meadowlark because that was one that I knew Grandma would recognize and love, and the Cardinal because they don’t have those in Nebraska.

We packed them in a box and shipped them to Grandma at the nursing home. They were a big hit. She loved “her chickens” as she called them. One day, we walked into her room and Bruce saw the birds. He went over and pushed the top of one and it chirped. “You found my chickens,” Grandma said. Her face lit up like it was Christmas. I’ll never forget that look.


Grandma always did love birds. In the nursing home she was delighted when they were able to move her to a room with a bird feeder right outside her window. She enjoyed watching them from her chair.

Standing out in the beautiful valley where Daddy was born and imagining her as a young bride there in that lonesome place, I couldn’t help but notice the sound of the birds chirping. No wonder so many homesteaders and pioneers kept canaries in their homes.

When Grandma went to heaven we brought the birds home. They sit in our living room and every once in awhile I push the top of the bird and smile remembering my grandma and her “chickens.” Now, I’ll not only remember Grandma, but the beautiful lonely place my daddy was born.