A Tall Tale or Truth? The Tale of the Lonesome Dove

My Dad discovered the carcass on the patio- a mourning dove lying in a pool of blood. Since there weren’t any signs of foul play (or scattered feathers indicating a fight with the neighbor’s cat) we could only assume that the poor bird hit the window. He disposed of the remains before Rosie got home from school.

But the tell tale sign of scarlet remained in the concrete for a couple of days. We’d all pass it and sigh. Wonder what went wrong in the bird’s radar to hit the glass so hard. What a tragedy.

My father has always been a lover of birds. Over the years we’ve bought him countless feeders and books. We’ve even attempted to attract Purple Martins to no avail (which is not my fault. I bought a book and attempted to tell my Dad that there is a science to attracting the mosquito eating flyers, but he wouldn’t listen).

Which brings me to more of my Dad’s fine traits- he’s well read, intelligent and often smarter than the rest of us. And, he’s mastered the fine art of bullshit. So, sometimes we’re not quite sure if what he’s saying is the God’s honest truth.

I’ve listened to my Dad talk about birds for years. He’d call to the Cardinals. Look up new species in his books. And, he’d pay great attention to the doves.

“Look at that dove,” he’d say (one more than one occasion, I might add). “He’s a lonesome dove.”

All that would run through my mind is fleeting thoughts of Larry McMurtry and a bunch of cowboy outfits. I couldn’t recall if it was a movie or mini-series, but I knew it was not my kind of thing. But, I love my dad, so I’d listen.

“Dove’s mate once. For life. That guy. He’s lost his mate. And, he’ll forever mourn,” my dad opined.

I heard him say it for years. Every time there was a single mourning dove in the backyard, he’d relay the same sad story. I’m not quite sure I believed the one-mate theory, but I always listened and nodded my head in respect.

Last week, we had our first kamikaze-casualty since we’ve lived in this home. A dove hit the window and hopefully perished quickly. We were all sad.

The next day we peered across the yard to see a dove perched on the fence. He (or she, we’re not sure) didn’t move for hours. The next day, it was sitting in the mulch in the garden immobile. The day after, on the neighbor’s fence staring straight ahead; right at our house and the dreaded window.

The dove has never left our yard. I’m convinced that it lost its mate and misses its true love. And, now I guess I will begin to believe a few more of my dad’s stories. He nailed the one about the lonesome dove.

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About debcb

All Deb wanted to do was work, until she had Rosie. For the past decade, she's juggled a full-time career, high-profile volunteer work and mommyhood.

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