Blue Jay Blues (short story)
True Story by Lowell Lewis
Summer days...as a boy, that really says it all; adventure; dirt; bare feet; the world is yours.
It was on a clear Summer day when I was about eight years old, that I decided to climb a tall elm tree in our front yard. Now, this wasn't just any tree. And this decision was not a random one. This was the tree that my brother, who is seven years older than I, and his friends would climb. They would climb as high as they could and carve their initials in the tree--whoever climbed the highest could prove it by where their initials were carved.
I had listened to them argue and brag and fuss until I decided to outdo them all. If I could just go a bit higher than the highest carving and put my initials, they would be so mad, I thought, with a smile.
I knew I could climb higher because I was smaller and not as heavy as my brother and his friends. And, I had already climbed above the highest carvings several days earlier--though I couldn't prove it because no one else saw me do it.
I loved climbing the tall trees in our yard. The view was spectacular! The trees just bristled with awaiting adventure and danger--what more could a boy want?
Well, I climbed and climbed--it was higher than I remembered. And the wind seemed stronger this time. Finally, I reached the highest carving and rustled around to find a place to balance while I dug out my brother's pocketknife (borrowed for the occasion).
A bluejay land near me and squawked loudly, startling me--I almost dropped the knife! I yelled, "shut up!" at the bird. The bluejay cocked its head and squawked louder, hopping to a branch closer to me. "Shut up!" I yelled again. "GO away!" The bird kept squawking and I kept yelling until my mother came to the front door to see what was going on.
Mom got to the front door just in time to see the bluejay swoop down and peck thunderously on my head! I dropped the pocketknife and scrambled to get down from the dizzying height. The bird swooped back over me and pecked my head again! I lost my footing and tumbled through the branches! About every third branch I would catch a grip and then slip again. I tumbled and grabbed and slipped all the way to the ground where I landed with a thud!
When mom found out that I was not harmed, she laughed 'til she was wiping tears. And I'll bet that crazy blujay had a grand old time relaying the story to his friends.
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