Today we are pedalling south of Baton Rouge. Our bellies are full of grilled redfish and fried catfish, thanks to Grill Master Craig Houston and his talented family. This blog is about something that happened a month ago, but the jokes are timeless.
March 21 was a big time for us. We were three-quarters of the way through Bird Year, and had just passed the ten thousand mile mark. We visited the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship in Gainesville. At our presentation there, we enjoyed the most entertaining introduction ever.
A hundred people sit on stackable chairs in the high-ceilinged Sanctuary. A woman with a long blonde braid walks to the front. She wears a blue peasant skirt, white blouse, blue print over-blouse, and a name tag: LoraKim Joyner. She is a co-minister. She picks up the microphone.
“I understand”, LoraKim starts, with a mischievous look, “that Malkolm, Ken and Wendy have not been alone in understanding the need for habitat protection and reducing the use of fossil fuels. They’ve found some special birds along the way in your Bird Year.”
First-time visitors to UUF look puzzled. Church members smile. They know that LoraKim Joyner loves birds – and bird puns. They know what is coming.
“Like the birds who were so sad about climate change and losing their habitat,” she continues. She peers out into the crowd.
A church member calls out, “Mourning Dove?”
“Sure”, says LoraKim, “and Blue Bird. Then in Texas you worked with a clergy bird who spoke out against pollution. Who was that?”
No one knows.
“The Cardinal!” LoraKim cries. “Alas, there have been some detractors – those birds that want to build and expand human structures for economic gain - the Crane, the Shoveler.
And what about those birds that want to develop the Arctic Refuge for oil?”
”Bushtits” says a woman in the second row.
“No comment!” laughs LoraKim. “What about Petrels?”
“A marijuana smuggler’s boat got shipwrecked in a storm,” she continues. “It crashed on a bird rookery in the Florida Keys. All those drugs went ashore. The Drug Enforcement Agency was concerned about the effects on the nesting terns, and called the Audubon society. Their fears were confirmed.....no tern was left unstoned.”
“Now I will turn the microphone over...”