Morning Thanks

Garrison Keillor once said we'd all be better off if we all started the day by giving thanks for just one thing. I'll try.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Morning Thanks--the neighbors

You may not know it, but Sioux City's Municipal Band has a storied past. It began just after World War I, when a vet named Herman Koch determined that the brand new American Legion post in town would be strengthened if he started up a band for the war vet, some of whom, by the way, had never played in a band before.

Not only were that bunch successful in Sioux City, they became national American Legion band champions several times running, even made a trip to gay Paree' where they performed before a million spectators down a six-mile route that led them right through the Arc de Triumph. I'm not making this up. There's a big display case full of Sioux City Band memorabilia in the Woodbury County Courthouse. See if for yourself.

Back to Paris. When the band won first place right there amidst all that Paris regalia, they lined up one more time and played an encore, one of their favorites, “The Iowa Corn Song.” Seriously, they did. Isn't that just perfect?

I'll never be a native Iowan, having been born and reared in exile far away; but this time of year, when the goldfinch descend on us once again, I can't help but think of the Tall Corn State because Iowa is the Goldfinch Kingdom. They are--and they seem to know it--the Iowa State Bird.
Cocky?--no kidding. 

Right now, there are four just outside my window, one of them, a bully, hates others a good deal more than he loves sunflower seeds. If any of the others come anywhere close to the sock, he'll stop eating and fight 'em off.

A goldfinch makes more noise per square gram than anyone else out there it seems, except for a couple of species of wrens. Their song--seriously--is a shriek that can make windows think they're vulnerable. Still, it's beautiful--and I wouldn't miss it for the world. Anybody who sings that well can carry a little arrogance. And nobody flies like our goldfinch either. When they take off, they bob and weave into the horizon as if sewing earth and sky.

But honestly, they unruly and hot-headed. Their "do unto others" stops right at the end of their blessed little beaks. Charity? kindness? love? Forget it.

All that arrogance may well arise from their glorification in the tall corn state--I don't know. Then again, maybe it's simply because they rank among the backyard feeder's most darling--"oh, look, little balls of pure sunshine."

Well, yesterday they lost the beauty contest, however, when a sometimes visitor dropped by. This guy, an oriole, a Baltimore Oriole, sat here for a a couple minutes, just outside my window, so brilliantly orange he might well have been a cartoon. Here he is.

For a couple of fleeting minutes, Iowa lost to Baltimore, big time.

But I'm not sure the Iowa State Bird even noticed. If they did, it doesn't seem so this morning because right now, once again, they're back at their bitching. See?

It would do them well, right now, to do a quick couple of verses of the "Iowa Corn Song." Maybe that'd sweeten 'em up.

This morning, once again, I'm thankful for the fine, feathered friends from the community outside my window. But they could be a little more neighborly.

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