Saturday, 30 January 2016

The jackdaw and my father.

The jackdaw was bobbing around, under the old apple tree, trying to feed but without much success.   I stopped what I was doing to watch as he tried to balance on one leg while keeping the other tucked up off the ground.

He struggled, tried this and that method, finally found a way to balance and yet still bend down to get to the food.   I had to admire his determination, it made me think of you, Dad.

That happened almost three weeks ago.  The Jackdaw still comes into the garden to feed, along with the pair of magpies, the blackbirds, pigeons, chaffinches, great tits, robins, etc.   It gets very busy under that old apple tree.

I try to feed the birds while the two cats are indoors and eating their own food.   I can't bear the thought of being instrumental in one of the birds being caught - and Coco is particularly fond of that particular game.

The jackdaw's leg is still not right but he has learned how to cope with it.

So, why did the jackdaw remind me of my father?

My paternal grandmother was a tiny woman, certainly less than 5' tall.   She had four children, my father was an eye-wateringly large baby of 14lbs......he was the last to be born!

His delivery was complicated and during his birth his left arm was broken, but remained undetected for quite some time.

To cut a long and painful story short, he was left with restricted movement and extreme weakness in his left arm.   It was fixed in a permanently bent position, even the hand,  as this was found to be more 'useful' than just leaving it dangling and useless.  The muscles withered, the joints set and I know it caused him a lot of pain at times, but he never complained.

Life, even simple things like dressing, buttoning things, cutting up food, etc, etc, were made very tricky by this disability, but my father ALWAYS found ways around a problem and he did it quietly.
"If at first you don't succeed, try, try, and try again" and "Good, better, best, never let it rest until the good is better and the better, best" were two of his favourite sayings.

He was a truly remarkable man.  I miss him.

ps The jackdaw is doing really well.

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