"Moooooooooooom! Come get me! I want to go home!"I did my final Butchie Check today. Hasn't this been like following a soap opera? "Like sands through the hour glass, so are the days of our lives," I can hear Macdonald Carey doing the intro. to Days Of Our Lives just like he did the first time, in 1965. My maternal grandmother, "Nanny," never missed an episode. When I was barely ten, she unfailingly stopped her days work to watch. It didn't matter what hadn't been done that should have been, laundry, lunches or watering her flowers. She stopped to watch Days Of Our Lives. We didn't watch T.V. as children, but we did when we spent summers with Nanny and Grampy. My father had an ahead of his time notion that T.V. would result in the destruction of the human race. He maintained that one day, beings of the future, unknown to us today would find televisions in our ruins and remark that is what must have killed us off. But, my grandmother didn't care about his Beatnik notions. Every day at lunch time, she pulled out a metal T.V. tray for each of us, set our lunch upon them and commanded us to be quiet so that she could watch her show without interruption.
All winter long, she had saved the comics from the newspapers for me. My favorite was The Wizard Of Id. It still runs in the dwindling daily rags of today. She also saved McCall's paper dolls which I didn't like so much. I pretended that I did since she had cut them out all winter and saved them for me. Sometimes, while The Days Of Our Lives was droning on, I read The Wizard Of Id collection. I could not tell you one thing about the plots or characters of the episodes of Days Of Our Lives. I do remember though, that one day at least thirty years later, I stumbled on the show on T.V. and was gobsmacked (as the British say) that one of the main characters was still there. To my mind she must have been an actress of at least a hundred years of age. Alice something was her name. I can hear MacDonald Carey's introduction in my mind like it was yesterday.
At the time, The Days Of Our Lives was ahead of the television programming curve in presenting family situations that were outrageous for T.V. It was very daring in its portrayal of real life American families. Most people like soap operas because they air problems that are so far reaching from most people's realities that they can let go of their own horrible lives, if only for an hour. Sometimes, it's easier to fall down the hole of some else's drama than it is to embrace your own. So, I'm all choked up and messed up and sad about the Butchies leaving home today.
When I got there, one of them was gone from the nest and nowhere to be found. I searched in the trees all around and even on the ground thinking perhaps the worst had happened. Once when a baby robin fell out of the nest, I brought it into the house. I put it in a cardboard box and tried to keep it alive. It lasted long enough to recognize me as the food source (worms delivered with tweezers). Every time I came into the kitchen it started its "FEED ME, FEED ME!" cheeping racket. Then one morning, it was dead. I would never do this, but can you imagine a baby eagle in a box on your kitchen counter demanding to be fed? YIKES!
I did find one of the Butchies sitting on a tree limb only 30 feet off the ground. He looked so forlorn and scared it was heartbreaking. Of course, who knows what it was feeling, but I had to wax anthropomorphous. After all, their progress over the past month or so has been my soap opera. I had a relationship with them and talked to them every time I visited. The remaining Butchie sat on the limb, hopped around to adjacent limbs and flapped its huge wings a few times. It looked to the ground repeatedly as is to ask "Hey! Is this flying thing you've all been talking about for real? It looks really scary to me!" One of the parents appeared on scene a few times. It swooped low in an arc and disappeared several times, barely a shadow, as if a ghost checking up on the living. There was no great whooshing of wings as I had heard other times, nor calling to its youngster. Madame Butchie was doing her version of peaking from behind the curtain of a kitchen window as junior masters the tricycle alone in the driveway. Butchie would look longingly in her direction and flap. He seemed all confused by the tree branches and too much wing to move around amongst the sticks. He issued a few, weak, thready "pee,oo-pee,oos" Eventually, I left him. I struggled with the walk away. I said goodbye. "Have a great life, Little Butchie. I'll see you down the river."