The Story of Bob

One evening we found a baby bird on our sandy driveway, not far from a large oak tree, flopping around, unable to fly, unable even to stand.

We carefully scooped him up and created a substitute nest for him out of a shoe box.

We named him Bob.

Then we went online to find out what to do next. We found the phone number for a bird rescue person. We called and were told to keep Bob in his shoe box and put him up in the oak tree.

So we did.

We punched holes in the shoe box, ran kite string through the holes, then used more string to suspend Bob’s cardboard nest from a low hanging branch (but high enough off the ground so that our outdoor cat, Ellie Mae, couldn’t get to it).

As nightfall came, there was a breeze and, looking out across the lawn to the oak tree and Bob’s swaying shoe box ,we were reminded of the lullaby:

Rock-a-bye baby on the treetops,
When the wind blows, the cradle will rock,
When the bough breaks, the cradle will fall,
And down will come baby, cradle and all.

The wind blew harder and harder. We could feel the heaviness of storm clouds moving in across the darkness. And then came a sprinkling of fat rain drops. Followed, soon, by a slamming downpour.

From time to time through the night we would peer out toward the oak tree and, in between flashes of lightening, would see the Bob’s shoe box swinging wildly in the wind.

And one of us would say “Wonder how Bob is?” or “Hope Bob’s okay.”

At first light, we went out to check Bob’s shoe box.

But Bob was gone.

We like to believe he made it back to his momma somehow.

However,  later that afternoon, Ellie May—the original Pineapple Hill mouse cat—showed up with bird parts in her mouth.

Small, Bob-sized bird parts…

We left the shoe box hanging from the tree limb for the longest time.

Eventually it became just a rumpled mass of cardboard and string that barely resembled a shoe box anymore and certainly no longer resembled a bird nest anymore.

Finally, without ceremony, I walked out to the oak tree one day with scissors and took down what was left of Bob’s cradle.

We still talk about Bob.

He belongs to this land eternally now and to our lives here as much as we do.

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–Tim Bryant
Author of Blue Rubber Pool
Surf Director at Pineapple Hill