Sunday, November 3, 2013


On Saturday I was reading through letters and short stories I'd written in the '70's and '80's and came across a piece called MOVING DAY in which I recounted launching into an unforeseen two and a half year venture as a house-sitter.

A synchronic event compels me to post this part of the story and here's why…

Yesterday I checked in to see what's been going on at AMAIA DREAMS' DREAM BOARDS as I'd been absent for quite a few months now. One of the members had started a new category called MAGICAL MOMENTS wherein she suggested we would, "have an ongoing thread where we could share positive things, like a moment of gratitude or delight over something or a little magical moment that made us smile."

I glanced through the comments on the first page and this one jumped out at me, "Mares eat oats, and does eat oats, and little lambs eat ivy." These are lyrics from the song Mairzy Doats written in 1944 and much loved by my Mom.

As I was reading my story I wondered whether it was worth posting in my blog.

And then I read the comment in MAGICAL MOMENTS so here is an excerpt.

*       *       *
THE SET UP a summary -

A friend had helped me move out of the co-op house and took me to the house-sit. The owners were  out for the evening so we just dropped my belongings, stuffed into garbage bags, by the front door and headed out for dinner. When Sheib dropped me off, the house was in darkness and I had no idea where anything was. Basically I end up stumbling around, knocking things askew and swearing under my breath.

THE STORY from here -

"Shit!" I hop on my right foot, aiming all the while to grasp my left big toe with my left hand; the bags jostle on my back with a crinkling of plastic. The otherwise silent, still night is disturbed by the thumping of my feet and swearing. And then, giggling wafts down the hallway.

They're laughing at me. They're laying there in bed laughing at me, I am embarrassed by my clumsiness and lack of foresight to study the lay of the land before I'd headed out. No, they're not really laughing at me. They probably didn't even hear me come in. They're most likely having sex, sharing some sort of lovers' intimacy.

I'm just about to call out for some help with lighting when I trip over something at the bottom of the flight of stairs. As I try to keep from falling my hand hits a switch, turning on the light at the top of the stairway, welcoming me with its warm glow.

I trundle up the wooden stairs that creak with every footfall and make my way to "my" room.

Dropping the bags at the foot of the bed, fully clothed, I fall into its downy cushiness, falling into sleep moments later.

"Buckety coo, buckety coo…" the sounds of pigeons in the rafters above my head and the morning light streaming in wake me. I lay there, thrown back in time by the sound.

"No, they don't."

"Yes, they do. They sound exactly like that." And in a soft melodic voice my mother mimics, "Buckety coo, buckety coo. You just have to listen sometime. You'll hear it." She was telling me about her own childhood experience visiting an eccentric uncle who'd kept and trained carrier pigeons. Their chatter would waken her as she slept in a bedroom under the rafters of his home.

I thought she was pulling my leg. After all wasn't this the same woman who would sing, "Mare-zee-doats 'n doe-zee-doats 'n li'l lam-zee-die-vee. Kid-sel e-die-vee too woodn'-chew."

What the hell did that mean?

I think she sang it just to torment me until the day my ears finally deciphered, "Mares eat oats and does eat oats and little lambs eat ivy. Kids will eat ivy too. Wouldn't you?" and I smiled, delighted by the playfulness of words.

Laying here now, my ears confirm "buckety coo" as the official language of pigeon.


I had hoped to write a book (and make my fortune in the process) about my house-sitting misadventures; this was the opening chapter. Life happens while you're making other plans.

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