Time magazine reported this fact this past week: 500 Million—estimated number of birds killed by cats each year in the U.S., according to a University of Georgia study. This was a fact I could not help but to show to the wife . . . the wife who happens to be a bird lover . . . seven bird feeders lover of birds. She was appalled.
Somewhere in the vows of marriage there is a phrase that proclaims that the two participants being married will take one another “for better or worse.” That means that you have to take the good with the bad. In our case it means that I have to take her love for animals . . . especially birds. I figured that when I showed her the statistic she would be upset . . . I guess that is half the fun in sharing.
Now I have to admit, I like the birds that the wife’s feeders attract. Montana has a wondrous array of birds that come to the feeders throughout the year in our yard. I have seen just about everything except a bald eagle at the feeders. It is pretty amazing . . . but, life is life . . . birds die . . . and, life goes on. In her mind, my wife understands that . . . but in her hearts, well, that is a different story.
Because she thinks with the heart and not the mind, the wife has accepted the responsibility of keeping the animal kingdom well fed during the winter. We go through an amazing amount of bird feed—bird feed of every type—bird feed that I never knew existed—to keep the birds well fed. There are days I wonder if they are getting better fed than I am. Also, because of this, the wife has a difficult time understanding how any person could think differently than she can. Yes, God will take care of the animals . . . the wife figures that this is what God is calling her to do—feed the animals and birds.
Now, I love animals . . . I love the birds . . . but, they have been around a heck of a lot longer than humans and will be here much longer than any of us. God is doing a good job of taking care of the critters . . . I just wish the wife would believe that God can do the job. But, no . . . we have to do our part in keeping the animal kingdom going. Each and every morning . . . no matter how cold or snowy . . . the critters receive their feed . . . and, they do appreciate it.
Birds, though, are not the only critters that frequent the bird feeders. Deer have discovered that bird feeders are a great snack. Just about every day—usually twice a day—the deer come by for a snack. They munch on the feeders . . . and, just about anything else they can latch their mouths onto. The bushes and scrubs have taken a beating. It is an annual ritual to replace that which the deer have devoured. But, they are just by-passers in the scenario . . . innocent bystanders. So, each day, it is a feeding frenzy in the Keener yard—all of God’s critters are welcome!
Not everyone agrees with this practice. We have, somewhere in the neighborhood, an individual who thinks the wife’s feeding of the animal kingdom is not an act of kindness, but baiting. Baiting is the practice of feeding animals so that they keep returning to the same spot. Returning to the same spot allows hunters free reign on the critters once hunting season comes along. It is a serious crime that is punishable with a five hundred dollar fine. The wife has now been reported to law enforcement twice . . . once she was ignorant of what she was doing, the other because the reporter was ignorant of what she was doing. Where she sees it as an act of kindness, others see it as an act of invasion . . . invasion of the critter kind. Neither one is right or wrong . . . but, it gives me headaches.
Now I love my wife . . . for better or worse . . . and, I have to live with her. The individual who keeps reporting her to law enforcement, well, he or she is probably someone I enjoy a lot . . . even see as a good friend . . . or at least a neighbor . . . but, I do not have to sleep with my neighbor. I have to sleep with my wife . . . who do you think I am going to support? It sure isn’t going to be my neighbor on this one.
There is a place in the world for the animal kingdom . . . right now it seems to be my front and back yards. It makes the wife happy. If the wife is happy, everyone else is happy. Yeah, I understand nature and the survival of the fittest, but we are talking the wife here . . .
Remember, if Mama ain’t happy, ain’t no one happy. I like Mama happy. With this in mind, I make my weak arguments, bite my tongue, and accept the fact that the birds (and every other critter within a fifty mile radius) are going to be fed. It is just a part of who the wife is . . . for better or worse. I love my wife . . . what more can I say. Five hundred million . . . I guess the University of Georgia has never been in our yard . . . the animal kingdom is alive and well. Slyvester never gets Tweety in our world . . .