Hart Ford
Hart Ford

Home Country

By Slim Randles

Doc smiled and felt really good inside when he heard the familiar bird song.

‘Hey there, Wheezer,’ he said, ‘happy spring!’

For some reason, this mourning dove with the speech impediment comes around to Doc’ back yard every spring, and Doc thinks that’ just all right. If ol’ Wheez didn’t have that distinctive voice, Doc would never know if this bird favored his yard or was just another bird looking for a home. Let’ face it, Wheezer looks just like every other dove in town.

But he was back and flirting with a good-looking lady dove up on the branches of the locust tree. Doc always wondered whether doves mate for life, and this was the same Mrs. Wheez he sees every year, or if Wheezer had to court a new lassie each spring.

‘I’ll have to look it up,’ Doc said, knowing that he wouldn’t.

But he did go over to the concrete block wall and clean out the crud from the hollow in the top block by the gate. Doc had put dirt in it years ago, and each spring, the Wheezer family hauled in twigs and grass and made a place to raise their family.

And each spring, as Mrs. W. sat on her eggs, it would take Doc a few days before she would tolerate him coming and going through the gate. This was the dove family he was close to. They let him get right up to maybe a foot from the ugly little baby birds each spring, and he was careful never to move quickly or make a noise. That was his contribution, you see, to the putting together of the ‘Doves in the Concrete Block’ family.

Wonder how long doves live? Doc thought. Wonder how long old Wheezer will last? I’ll have to look it up.

No he won’t.

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