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The Slice: Not quite ready for takeoff

Flight training hasn’t gone smoothly this summer for our yard’s resident robins.

First there was the fledgling that landed in a basement window well and couldn’t get back out. That bird was eventually lifted to freedom. But not before adult robins, freaked out about the human intervention, repeatedly plunged and swooped, prompting my wife to later say it was “like the Battle of Britain out there.”

Then, just a few days ago, I came home to discover a novice flier on our back porch. It was making quite a racket. It left a little deposit near the doormat, suggesting a case of anxiety about my approach. An adult bird in a nearby tree was also letting me hear about it.

Naturally, I stopped in my tracks the moment I noticed this puffy beginner on the porch.

It hopped down by a bush and then flew straight into our backyard’s wooden fence.


I think it was OK. At least I hope it was OK.

The agitated adult robin up in the tree sounded like she was blaming me, a charge I reject.

I went inside and reported this latest episode of flight school follies. My wife and I agreed. Those birds don’t know how lucky they are.

If our neighbor’s elderly cat, Chloe, was still spending time outdoors, she might have taught those slow learners a harsh lesson or two about life in the wild.

Without going into the grisly details, let’s just say Chloe was the prime suspect in a patio robin murder several summers ago. Though, to be fair, she never admitted responsibility for the crime. You know how cats are.

I still keep some tuna on hand for her. I glance over at her porch whenever I step out the front door. But I know she won’t be coming over any more.

Our neighbor texts us pictures of her. And I trust she’ll tell us when there’s some news about Chloe.

For now, I’m left to wonder if that old cat ever watches the robins from a window. I can only imagine what she must think.

Slice answer: “As I’m more than a klutz now, none of my friends believe that many years ago I was a car hop that wore roller skates,” wrote Judy Foster. “Never dropped a tray! Never tripped!”

Today’s Slice question: How important is it that your spouse or significant other be at least somewhat impressed by the things that impress you?

Write The Slice at P. O. Box 2160, Spokane, WA 99210; call (509) 459-5470; email Feel free to share your hammock/bad back story.

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