42: A Bit of Dad

42: A Bit of Dad

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Hope & Miracles

A Bit of Dad

If I keep a green bough in my heart, then the singing bird will come.

~Chinese Proverb

My dad taught us the magic of bird watching when my brother, sister and I were kids. We would huddle around the window or sit on the patio and watch the birds at one of his many bird feeders. We always had a bird book handy to identify any we didn’t recognize. As we grew and had children of our own, Dad continued the tradition with his grandchildren. He would tell them all about the yellow finches, house finches, cardinals, those ornery blue jays, etc.

We continued this tradition with our children. My sister and I both live in areas where we have open spaces, trees, and fields, even though I live in the heartland and she on the East Coast. We both have multiple bird feeders and take delight in feeding the variety of birds they attract. Every time dad would visit he would say to both of us, “I can’t believe that you cannot attract Baltimore Orioles.”

We would respond with, “Well, it’s not because of lack of effort. They just don’t seem to want to come.” He would shake his head and tell us to try again next year. Try again we did, over and over, never giving up that hope of attracting Dad’s favorite, the Baltimore Oriole. After fourteen years, it seemed as though it would never happen.

On Easter weekend of 2011, my dad passed away, and we were all heartbroken. A week after, I was sitting in our office watching the birds at our feeders and thinking of him. Lo and behold, not one, but two Baltimore Orioles appeared in the small tree outside our window. I was so excited that I thought, “I need to call Dad; he will never believe it.” Then I was brought back to reality, and realized that phone call would be impossible to make, so I called my sister. Upon sharing my joy, she started to cry and said that her family also spotted their first Baltimore Orioles that very same day.

In the midst of a broken heart, I felt pure joy at this gift God sent to remind us of our dad. He would have had such a smile on his face knowing that we could enjoy his special bird. Every year that has followed his passing, the Baltimore Orioles have returned and given my sister and me a little bit of our dad back. We are truly blessed!

~Beth Huettner Olsen

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