John, a brief story about a crow.

My grandfather had a pet crow; it would go everywhere with him; his name was Louie.  I’m not sure how he acquired this bird.  It’s possible that Louie had simply landed in the apple tree one morning and my grandfather had tamed him. He was that kind of person. He had a big house in Rockville Centre with an enormous yard, which he had slowly transformed into a real showplace. When the rhododendrons were in bloom people would stop their cars and take pictures.

One morning my grandfather got into a fuss with Louie and Louie had taken refuge in the apple tree, squawking and yelling (I guess that’s the word) at my grandfather. When my Aunt Ethel came to the back door to see wh7at the racket was all about, she found my grandfather in a lather; he looked like he was going to climb right up the tree and drag him down. My aunt went back into the kitchen to find some food for Louie.  She had been gone maybe two minutes–by her. account—but when she retlurned with some crackers, she found my grandfather face down in his garden, the faint whiff of cigar smoke in the air.

John? she’d whispered, touching his arm, trying to wake him; but he was already dead, When she looked at the sky, Louie had gone too.\

Published by extrasimile

define: extra: excess, more than is needed, required or desired; something additional of the same kind. define: simile: a simile is a type of figurative language, language that does not mean exactly what it says, that makes a comparison between two otherwise unalike objects or ideas by connecting them with the words “like” or “as.” The reader can see a similar connection with the verbs resemble, compare and liken. Similes allow an author to emphasize a certain characteristic of an object by comparing that object to an unrelated object that is an example of that characteristic. define: extra: an minor actor in a crowd scene

4 thoughts on “John, a brief story about a crow.

  1. Extraordinary story and utterly sad: Death being so momentous and yet this death so improbable. I nearly said so ridiculous but that seems disparaging which I don’t intend. And what a shock and how maddening for those he left behind!

  2. John, your quite right with most of your surmises. The story was inspired by your poem, which is a real beauty, by the way. And the Wallace Stevens which was a late addition is a mood changer. I’m thinking of writing some other stories like this one and if I’m changing the mood from crows to black birds. I should give it some more space.
    Now for the vexing problem of is it a true story. I think, John, that its pretty much true. My grandfather did have a pet crow, and he did die while he was trying to get Louie out of the apple tree. And I even changed some of the vocabulary to make it closer to what he would have said. (‘damn crow’) On the other hand, I was not present when he died. What happened during those last few moments all comes from my aunt. And while I was writing it I was aware of consciously shaping it to my own—largely aesthetic purposes.
    So. John. Is it true? Yes.

  3. Thanks for this Jim – I’m inferring that it’s your response to my poem.
    You know, I find this story really keeps me guessing: is it a true story, or fiction, or a mixture of the two? I’m putting my money on this last.
    It’s a deeply touching anecdote if there’s some truth in it and one that leaves the reader speculating about life and death, humans and other creatures.
    One final thought: I recognise the quote from Wallace Stephens’ Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird. I notice he didn’t write those lines about crows. It takes a big jump of empathy to find beauty in a crow’s song!
    A final final thought: we have a blackbird in our garden that’s pretty friendly and shows no fear of us. And we have a pair of crows who are much wilder and more suspicious of us – two proper brigands!

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