Our family moved from Nebraska to Canon City, Colorado the day before my fifth birthday. Dad was the new pastor of the little church, not yet built, on the corner of Seventh and Floral. The King family lived on the south edge of town, on the other side of the Arkansas River. This family attended our church. They had two teenage daughters, a son, Earl Cecil, about my age, and a younger daughter. A friendship developed between us boys to the extent that for the most part we saw each other on Sundays as we attended different schools and our homes were not quite within walking distance of each other.
kept and raised a few hogs and at butchering time Dad would assist Mr.
King with the chore of turning the pigs into meat. This provided an
additional opportunity for playtime with Earl Cecil. To the best of my
memory I never heard anyone call this child anything other than Earl
Cecil. It was almost as if it were one name, Earlcecil. But back to
the story. When we were probably about eight or nine years of age, Earl
Cecil and I, that is, the Kings moved to Las Animas.
Then Virginia and Marilyn, now young
women, decided that marriage represented the life for them and as good
fortune would have it each found the man of her dreams at about the same
time and I suppose courtships ensued. The girls decided a double
wedding would be the ticket and they asked my parent to perform the
ceremony. The appointed day arrived and our family made the trip to
Las Animas. It would possibly be a bit understated if I were to say
that Earl Cecil and I were less than excited about the wedding and all
the attendant folderol, but we were delighted to have the opportunity to
catch up and spend time with each other simply horsing around and doing
stuff that nine year old boys do.
Earl Cecil had a magpie! His very own personal pet magpie. He had been
told, and he told me, that were a magpie to be captured about the time
it fledged one could clip a tendon or some such thing under the bird's
tongue and the bird could be taught to talk. Which is exactly what the
kid did, for on his farm there was no scarcity of magpies.
the birdie talk? Indeed it could. "Hello." "Dirty bird." And
probably not much more. I do not recall exactly but I think its
vocabulary was limited.
But of course I envied my friend and always wanted my own magpie, a desire which so far has not been fulfilled.
It is said that the magpie is the brightest of birds and the most intelligent of all the animals. I have read stories of magpies calling the family dog by name and waiting for the beast to come to it. Anyway. . .
Stat feed tells me that this is post number 2500 on String Too Short to Tie.