Corsicana Daily Sun, Corsicana, Texas

Opinion

April 9, 2014

Uncle Mort: For the Birds

Corsicana — Personal experiences racked up across three-quarters of a century — including yips and yaps at lecterns spanning five decades — offer positive proof that many times, utter silence is preferable to spoken words.

I was reminded of this age-old truth the other day when my Uncle Mort called. Upon his mention of a new-found interest in ornithology, the call — received in the morning hours of April 1 — likely meant my 101-year-old relative was up to his old tricks — “spoofing it up” on April Fools’ Day.

Interrupting him was as tempting as a clearance sale on banana splits, a promise of bonus airline miles, or biggest-ever senior citizen discounts. Assuming this was his annual big joke for the holiday, it was little short of miraculous that I remained silent.

Maybe I was stunned to hear Uncle Mort pronounce “ornithology” with both clarity and unbridled excitement. What sparked this new-found interest in birds? It couldn’t have involved “tweeting,” since he stated that if God had intended us to “tweet,” we’d all look like “Tweety Bird.”

Perhaps his mind was jarred with the long-ago memory of Mr. Wallace Wimple, the little mush-mouthed guy on Fibber McGee and Molly’s radio show. (Wimple, always the patient listener, worked in mentions of his every-present “bird book.” A standard line on each episode: “That ain’t the way I heerd it, Johnny.”) Or maybe Mort was prepping me for the old story of two buzzards, flying lazily aloft on a hot summer day. One of the buzzards said, “Patience, heck, let’s kill sumthin’.” Another possibility involved the two feisty magpies in “Heckle and Jeckle” cartoons seen in olden days at the picture show. Or, maybe Sesame Street’s “Big Bird” was in play.

Okay, I admit it — my mind was largely in neutral when Uncle Mort said his interest centers specifically on crows, and how they’ve developed New England accents. I was hooked, eager for him to fill in several additional blanks.

Text Only
Opinion
  • Dr Don Newbury 2014.jpg Flipping out over flip-tops

    Somewhere between the admonition to avoid looks at gift horse’s mouths and the dangers of Greeks bearing gifts should be warnings about acceptance of gifts from offspring.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dick Platt 2014.jpg ‘Spilling doze count’

    My subject is borrowed from a local contributor to the Sarasota Herald Tribune named Bob Parkinson.

    July 28, 2014 1 Photo

  • Deanna Kirk Water Park woes

    I’ve come to the realization that vacations are not a luxury, they’re a necessity.

    July 25, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dr Don Newbury 2014.jpg Old, new, borrowed, blue

       Dissection of notes found in the pocket of an old suit isn’t easy. Maybe they were scrawled during the lull in a wedding ceremony, or to jog my memory of a joke for later use.

    July 24, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dick Platt 2014.jpg Spam french fries

    I saw a relatively disturbing video and article on Yahoo which touted making Spam French fires to go alongside your big old ground chuck burger. I just can’t imagine a basket full of these deep-fried cholesterol-loaded sticks, but there they were, bigger than Texas.

    July 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Janet Jacobs Dumb and dumber in the blotter

    When it comes to dumb criminals, nothing beats the would-be gang of car burglars who tried to break into a car in Tampa, Florida, this past week.

    July 20, 2014 1 Photo

  • Belcher, Bob.jpg ‘Change’ — old "buzz word" shows up in our town

    If you pay much attention when you’re driving around town lately (and I really hope that you do — pay attention, that is) you can’t help but admit we’ve seen some “change” as of late. And, contrary to the political connotations that word will forever carry with it now, that “change” we’re seeing is good.

    July 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bill Tinsley Germany present and past

    Last Sunday evening my wife and I stood on the balcony of our apartment in Nuremberg and watched as fireworks lit up the sky.

    July 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dr Don Newbury 2014.jpg Where strawberries are king

    In 1949, when Stilwell, Oklahoma’s “Strawberry Festival” was just one year old, crooners were applauded when they cut loose with Dear Hearts and Gentle People.

    July 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • Dick Platt 2014.jpg My TV is held hostage

    Give me back my TV! The Sunday sports fare today is just pitiful as far as I am concerned. Over the past weeks, my normal sports programs has been rudely preempted by endless hours of Wimbledon tennis, the Tour de France, assorted motor sports, and the nauseating mega-million signing sagas of LeBron James and Carmello Anthony

    July 14, 2014 1 Photo