It is time once again to engage in a bit of storytelling about earlier lifetime people and good memories. Each spring, at this time of the year, when I see Purple Martins returning to specially built martin birdhouses, I think about my Dad…Eddie..and I also think about our neighbor in our block, "Had", who was my dad’s good friend for so many years. Had was short for "Harold"..nobody in our small town was sophisticated enough to have heard the nickname "Hal" so "Had" it was.
Both Had and Eddie were businessmen in our small town. My Dad was a blacksmith, welder, and repair-er of most things mechanical. Had was a poultry man who had a small town business that sold poultry and eggs which were hand-candled in his back room. Our family bought all our chicken products and eggs from Had’s place.
In the month of May, both Had and Eddie were on the lookout every day for the first signs of Purple Martins since both of them had built the birdhouses Martins preferred. It was quite a ritual in the spring to get up on a ladder and clean out the winter sparrow messes before the Martins arrived. Had and Eddie "argued" constantly about whose birdhouse was the best. Eddie sneered at Had’s big 3- story "apartment building" and Had found fault with Eddie’s birdhouse as well. (Eddie’s birdhouse was a sure way to say "there goes the neighborhood!") This went on every spring with much "Bee-Essing" between the backyards that separated us from each other.
One May, Eddie hatched a great plot to put Had’s birdhouse out of business. Very early one morning, when Eddie knew Had was still asleep, he hauled his tall ladder and a big bed sheet to the grove of Blue Spruce trees where Had had put his Martin house up. Eddie climbed the ladder and ever-so-carefully, draped Had’s birdhouse completely with the big white bedsheet. Now Had was not blessed with good eyesight. He had worn "coke-bottle" glasses all his life and he missed a lot of things—-especially he missed seeing the white sheet hanging down from his Martin house for quite a few days…and when he did discover what that white thing was, it was too late for Martin occupancy. All the Martins in our neighborhood had moved into Eddie’s birdhouse.
Had never forgot Eddie’s treachery and Eddie never did it again. He had enough fun that spring to last him the rest of his life….but that was not all those two "friends" did to each other…. but that is another story for later.