By J.B. Stillwater

He came to my garden every year, Old Harry. He would often peak 'round the vigas of my porch, sing just a bit, and stop in mid air to greet me. His wings fluttered so fast, I suspected for a long time that they did not exist at all. Like all scallywags, he eventually let his guard down, and I came to see those fluttering delicacies. Hovering before me, he looked for his nectar, sweet. Of course, he always found what he was looking for, as I could never deny him, that old pal of mine. Then, off he would go, a swoopin' and a hollerin' across my yard. Old Harry was always happy to be where he was, never thought much about where he was goin' . . . he was already there.

And, then one evening as I sat on my porch, an old dust devil kicked up with a fright. Spinnin' and twirlin' 'round me, I feared it was going to carry me and my old wicker chair off through the heavens, depositing me in a dusty, hay field just west of Amarillo. When it finally settled into a respectable breeze, as often happens during that high desert time, it whispered something softly in my ear. It was about my Harry. This would not be any ordinary evening, no siree! Something very special was about to happen. The sun was setting, turning the Sandia Mountains behind me into giant Watermelons. The sky was turning blood red faster than a Roadrunner's race. For the first time that summer, the song of the Cicada stopped..

Harry came. This time he was not alone. He had brought a friend. With a twill and a mid air feat, he said, "Howdy." It didn't take him long to consume his evening meal. She was next. Then, off they flew! There was no doubt about it! It was clear to me that from that time on, I would be his fiddle two.

Then, one cool morning in early Fall, just as the Aspens were turning their most abundant shade of gold, I found him. His feathers were scattered 'round my tired looking rose garden. A bloody battle had ensued. There had been no care taken in the deed. Nor, was there any sign of remorse from Amos, my best gal. She sat next to him, happily cleaning her whiskers with her soft, gray paws. She had given me the ultimate gift. She had given me Harry.

I buried him 'neath my English Tea, his favorite, and looked for him no more. Until one sweet day in June, I heard that old familiar sound. It was the trill of unwavering wings. Next, it performed a mid air greeting, followed by a trip to the feeder. Off it flew, taking several swoops across my garden, fair. It was happy to be where it was, never thought much about where it was goin' . . . it was already there.

He had taught her well, my old pal, Harry. He taught her well.

Copyright 2005 JB Stillwater

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