Last evening I was standing in front of the sliding glass door to my back deck, watching the raindrops as they poured down out of the darkening skies and whipped and sprayed and splattered around the yard in the wind. Suddenly, our neighborhood scrub jay, Mr. Blue, swooped out of the wetness to make a splash landing in front of the door.
He stood there in the rain, a sopping wet, bedraggled, pitiful example of the species, as water dripped off the tip of his beak and joined the falling raindrops.
I turned to my son, Karl, who was heating himself a pan of soup on the stove. "Mr. Blue is willing to sell his soul for a peanut," I said.
"Wow, what happened to him?" Karl answered. "He looks like a wet sponge!"
At that point the cats, Tut and Newman, came trotting up to stare out the door at the drowning bird. The cats hate the jays. Being indoor cats, there’s no way they can ever get out and try to catch them and the jays know it. Mr. Blue and his cohorts do everything in their power to drive the cats crazy (and they do!). They peck on the windows, tap, tap, tapping at the cats’ chamber door, and they scream their harsh, rasping cries at the cats whenever they see them through the windows. Tut usually hides in the corner beside the door so he can’t see the jays, figuring out of sight, out of mind, but it doesn’t work because I can always hear him whining. This time, however, both cats clearly wanted to see what was going on. And enjoy it.
A soggy scrub jay standing out in the cold rain while the cats were sitting in a nice, warm kitchen was just too good to let pass. You ever see a cat grin? It’s not a pretty sight. You ever see a cat rolling around on the floor in hysterics? Scary.
While the cats were still rolling around in their little fit of hysteria and feline revenge, I quietly slid open the door and dropped a small handful of roasted, unsalted peanuts on the deck in front of Mr. Blue.
With a flick of his wings and a sudden violent shudder that shook every single drop of water off of his body, there was a great bright flash of blue light as Mr. Blue, The Blue Flash Super Hero Jay, appeared out of nowhere to stand tall and defiant … and dry … mere inches away from the suddenly attentive cats on the other side of the glass door.
The now incredibly beautiful jay picked up one of the peanuts (the biggest) in his beak and disappeared noisily into the depths of the redwood tree.
"NO!" screamed the cats as they both slunk away from the door. "NO! NO! NO!"
Karl shook his head a couple of times and turned back to finish fixing his soup.
"You know, nobody back at college would ever believe me if I told them about this place," he said.