The Hancock-Henderson Quill, Inc.
Greetings ta ever one in western Illinois and all readers of "The Quill."
The boys and I shore enjoyed the special Christmas book of stories, pictures, recipes, and poems put together in The Quill last week. That represents a lot of work and is very much appreciated.
Now this Wednesday, December 21, is the first day of winter by the calendar, anyways.
Somebody forgot ta tell the weatherman ta hold off till winter is officially here, before given'n us snow and cold weather.
If'n ya are a snow bird or someone with an office job, I suppose this weather seems extraordinarily harsh.
Er' if'n ya is a millennial exposed mostly ta recent mild winters ya is probably in shock and all fer cancell'n meet'ns and so forth.
But, if'n ya is a livestock feller with a few outdoor years under your belt, you've experienced this before and take it with the grain of salt.
Ya, in all probability, knows how to dress prepared fer the cold and feel fortunate that modern clothes do a better job of keep'n the cold aways from your skin than those of long ago.
Todays automobiles and trucks with their all wheel drive abilities handle the weather better and with the cell phone technology we've now got, call'n fer help when needed makes our winter world much safer in many ways.
It was not always so in the past. Does anyone recall the winter in the late 70's of the deep snow? And yet we all made due ta the challenge the weather presented.
I recall some winters in the late 50's and early 60's when the temperature fell below zero fer extended periods. One winter, I recall, had temperatures -20¼F and when it finally warmed up to 0¼F we thought spring had arrived.
Those were the days of auxiliary heaters in various parts of the auto's water jacket and dip stick heaters in the oil pan, all just so ya could get them ole carburetor engines started.
The only reason a feller stayed "home" as a general rule in those days was to keep the "home fires burn'n" and because their auto wouldn't start.
Most fellers didn't travel that much outside the farm unless there was a special need.
Well, I could go on with some good winter stories from days of old but today's young'ns wouldn't believe "em anyways and no good purpose would come of it.
A couple columns ago I wrote on the example of the stags on "Wrongfully Right," the Carpenter Bee on "Who Owns the Barn" and observations of bird nests now that leaves have dropped from the trees.
This column I would like to touch on those birds a bit.
Known By Our Song
Have ya noticed how birds in the spring, in the morn'n move their tongues? As soon as dawn breaks, they incessantly sing their seemingly song of thanks.
Certain species of birds begin their sing'n even before dawn. It's as if they are praise'n their maker in their own humble way.
Have ya given much thought ta the miracle of bird song? How does a bird sing? Does it move it's tongue as it exhales air in some kind of whistle? Does a bird have a voice box similar ta a human? In all probability not all birds use the same techniques, when ya realize the wide variety of bird songs.
Each bird species has it's own peculiar song, and by that song we can recognize what kind of bird is do'n the sing'n, even if'n we cain't see it. Of course, the exception is the mocking bird which has the ability to imitate songs of other birds, for the most part, however, each species is known by it's own song.
Some bird songs are very musical and a delight to hear. Purple martins fer example, warble melodiously, sometimes in whole colonies in a glad chorus. The house wrens song seems bigger than it's tiny body. Each bird has it's own beauty as we think of song sparrows, the clear whistle of the cardinal, the cheer-up chirp of the robin, the soft cooing of the mourning dove, the honking of the wild goose, and the list goes on.
How does each species preserve it's distinct song from one generation to the next? Are birds hatched with an inborn instinct or is there a learning process that young birds practice with their parents? If'n a canary were raised by a crow would it caw or do blue jays hatched in China sing with an oriental accent? Is their song more of a slow drawl as ya move farther south?
There's a point ta all this bird attention. If'n a bird can be known by it's song, how does this apply ta us humans? What "song" am I present'n ta the world around me? What do my friends and family members or co-workers I associate with "hear" as they relate with me from day ta day?
Is my life a pleasant melody with a testimony that spreads in widening ripples ta others? Is my life truly a song of adoration?
If'n I am known by my "song", just as birds are recognized by theirs, what does that song say about me? Beyond that, like the bird if'n my life's actions are good, are they sung all day long without ceasing? How am I live'n my "Dash" as the poem goes?
Well, these are thoughts brought on by God's creation as we near Christmas.
The Psalmist David proclaims,
"I will sing unto the Lord as long as I live..Praise ye the Lord" (Psalm 104: 33, 35) and serve the Lord with gladness; come before his presence with singing...(Psalm 100:2)
The boys and I will dwell on these thoughts and bird comparisons as we go into the Christmas holiday season. Maybe you might also.
"Have a Merry Christmas!"
Hope'n ta see ya in church this week.
Remember; Wherever ya are, whatever ya be a do'n "BE A GOOD ONE!"
Keep on Smile'n
Catch ya later