I'm not much of a carpenter but I'm a wannabe. I especially like to use hand tools. So when we moved to a new home in the burbs, and I found some old lumber in the garage, I was itching to build something. My wife, who was away on a business trip, had been feeding birds at our old house, closer to the city. On arriving here I had erected her bird feeders on a hill, adjacent to a wooded area and a thicket of berry bushes. We were soon attracting scores of goldfinches, cardinals, bluebirds, jays, grackles, chicadees, and woodpeckers. I decided to surprise her with a feeding table similar to one I had seen in one of her bird books. In an hour I had completed the project. I nailed it to a wooden stake on the hill at the edge of the woods. We could watch the birds feed from our porch, using a pair of binoculars.
Best laid plans
When I sat down that evening to observe the results of my efforts, I gasped at the view. It required no magnification to se that what I had manufactured was less of a feeder than a crucifex. The much too narrow feeding tray made a perfect cross with the upright. It resembled a gravesite, as if I had killed my spouse and planted her up on the hill.
I have nothing against religious symbols, but I am Jewish and my wooden cross made me somewhat uneasy. Furthermore, the birds wouldn't go near it. I pulled down my creation, widened the tray, then re-erected it, adding branches, brush, and berries to camouflage the base.
My wife returned the next day and wondered why I had constructed an atar on the property. My son thought it looked like I was preparing with a Klan meeting. The birds still avoided my offering.
That night, under cover of darkness, I removed my misguided masterpiece and relegated it to the scrap heap.
"Must be Jewish birds," I lamented to no one in particular.