Don’t Feed the Birds

This is my mother’s idea of a perfect picnic table - one you can’t use. She hates picnics. Her idea of a picnic is a restaurant
with a view. No kidding. I remember one picnic we went on when I was little. I had to be under 5 because my brother
hadn’t been born yet. We went to Sherwood Forest. Oh yeah, baby. The real Sherwood Forest. My dad and I were in the
forest having a great time and I am waiting for Robin Hood to come by and ask me to join him and his Band of Merry Men.
But if that had happened, I’m sure my dad would have said, “Candy, you can’t join Robin Hood and his Merry Men,
because your mom is in the car.” Yeah. My mom was in the car. With the windows rolled up eating her lunch by herself.
Why, you ask? Because she doesn’t like bugs. Hmmm....chance to meet Robin Hood or picnic alone in the car because
you don’t like bugs. Bugs win. Seriously...bugs win. It’s a wonder I turned out normal. Okay, maybe we’ll talk about that
another time. And, an interesting brother who wasn’t even around for this experience now lives in a town
called...Sherwood. There was this one time, though. We lived in Spokane and were making a trip to see my relatives in
Oregon. Long trip. My mom packed a lunch. Of course, my mom believed that as soon as you left the driveway it was time
to start eating. Hand on my heart I pinky swear that we would be backing out of the driveway and she would be digging in the
grocery back of snacks. “Is anybody hungry?” So, we are driving for-ev-er and finally it’s time to stop for a real lunch. There
is this picnic/rest area in the Columbia Gorge that we stopped at that overlooks the Columbia River. Absolutely gorgeous
place. My dad parks the big ole’ powder blue Buick and and we all head to the picnic area my mom says, “Don’t feed the
birds.” Seagulls. You know, beach birdies. Okay. Fine. No problem. It’s not like they were squirrels coming up begging
or anything. I remember the lunch. Cheese sandwiches, potato chips and soda. No spam. Smile A great lunch. So, as
we are heading back to the car my mother, for some reason still unknown to God and man, tosses the rest of her cheese
sandwich to a couple of seagulls that were in the parking lot. Following ensued a scene of such magnitude that even
Alfred Hitchcock would have been impressed. Out of the air itself appeared I have no idea how many seagulls not only
fighting over the half-eaten cheese sandwich, but they then began flying after my mother, who was by now running for the
car screaming, “PETE! PETE! START THE CAR! START THE CAR!” My brother and I will still break into
hysterical laughter when we remember that last picnic we ever had with our mom. She laughs about it now, too. But not
as hard. Hmm..I wonder if Robin Hood came by after we left, and he is still there, waiting for the little girl who
would have grown up by now, wondering why she left before she could have stepped into legend. It was bugs.

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