Mourning doves

I saw Frank and Vivian the other day. That’s what I call any pair of mourning doves that appear on the power lines in front of the house or anywhere I go. This time it was the power lines. They always show up whenever they need to remind me of my parents. As parents they console me but also tell me when to behave myself. They have been there through many a crisis.

The first time I ever saw a mourning dove, or heard one was in the backyard of our house in Cary, Illinois. The sad song sounded like a little owl but was really a coo-hooting dove. It was a long while before I actually saw what it looked like as they were high in the trees.

Many years later at the time when my father was dying, I was walking in Oaks Bottom. I was on the path next to the railroad track. On the power line next to the track was a dove, looking down at me. It coo hooted and I answered. I cried that my father was dying and that I knew he was probably already dead. There was a message on my answering machine waiting for me. I didn’t want to listen to it because I knew it was about my dad I wanted a good cry at Oaks Bottom with my dog Buster at my side.

I stood very still watching as the dove looked down, coo-hooting and I was coo-hooting back both of us softly mourning together. I cried “I’ll miss you” and it answered, “I’ll miss you too.”

My dad and me, we argued and got on each others nerves most of our lives. But he was my dad and he never meant me harm. But he was a hurting sad soul much of the time and his own unhappiness with himself spilled over onto the rest of us.

But that didn’t matter when the dove was talking to me. I love you. Another dove came along and I knew they were speaking to me. I felt their presence. And I realized how much I missed my mom and now my dad.

So now when I see a mourning dove or two I think of Frank and Vivian and I remember to behave myself and shape up and be a better person. I have failed recently at that but I am trying, DOG knows I try.


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