Today, May 11, 2015, would have been my Dad’s one hundred third birthday. Of course, he has been gone a long time since he passed away in a freakish traffic accident in March 1989, a few weeks short of seventy-seven. Do I miss him? Yes and no. WE had some rocky times but also many good ones.
This morning, I was sitting on the patio around ten o’clock enjoying a bit of sunshine and quiet. Then a big black bird flew by, squawking loudly. It was followed by two more and then yet another. They flew on south for a short while, but then circled back and began to soar and spiral over my back yard for several minutes, perhaps a hundred feet in the air or bit more. They ‘talked’ as they do–having quite a range of sounds, if one listens. Finally, they all flew away.
I then remembered how I learned to count crows. Of course these, like the ones I used to watch in
are actually ravens. The two species are related, but ravens are considerably larger. Still we called them all crows. I think
most folks do.
Dad was Irish, perhaps not one hundred percent by blood, but completely in his personality. He had all the stereotypical traits: volatile, voluble, charming when he chose to be, fiercely loyal, moody, superstitious and given to drama. About the only one he missed was in not being a drunkard. For the first twelve or so years of my life, he was my hero.
Since I was the eldest child, I did a great deal of driving, riding and working with him and we often saw crows. I was very young when I learned from him the little fortune-telling rhyme, which I expect came down from old Celtic folklore.
“One is unlucky, two is lucky, three is health, four is wealth, five is sickness
and six is quickness.”
I guess you were not supposed to see more than that at once!
Of course, you did not want to admit to seeing five or only one. I can remember Dad looking away for a few seconds and then back again to alter the count. Decades later, I still count crows and always try to get a fortunate number. But to see two, three and then four? Well, there was one at first, but still, what a collection of favorable omens!
|At a happier time, me on Lady and Dad |
with Charlie, about 2 1/2, on Chindy
Perhaps more importantly, I was given a chance to reconnect with my Dad in this odd way. We did not always get along and he could be difficult and some-times downright mean, but I never doubted that he loved me, even on the very worst days. So, on this anniversary of his birth, did he send those birds to remind me and offer a positive oracle for me, or was it just happenstance?
Of course there is no way to know. Still, I can believe what I wish and I can go on counting crows until the end of my days. I do not doubt that I will. And just maybe, luck, health and wealth are on the way to me soon.