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Pine Nuts: Huckleberry & Emmeline

March 1, 2023 | McAvoy Lane

Friends who stop by Twain Haven are sometimes greeted by my pet Jay, Huckleberry, who just today learned another trick to get my undivided attention. I’ve mentioned before how he will bang on the window with his beak to wake me up if I sleep late, or jump on the flagstaff and wave the American flag; he has even faked his own death to get a beer nut, I kid you not. 

But today he showed me a new trick that made me guffaw. I was awake, though still in bed, gazing out the window at the beauty, when Huck flew onto the screen door attached himself to the screen, spread his wings. and stared at me, as if to say, “Hey, Sleepyhead, let’s get some breakfast going out here!” He stayed plastered on that screen until I got up and started whistling his favorite song, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.”

Huck was so self-satisfied that he puffed himself up to about twice his normal size, and then I noticed why. Huckleberry has a girlfriend, Emmeline, and there she was, egging him on, as if he needed it. He’s such a ham anyway, but with Emmeline watching, well, I suppose he could put on an entire Broadway show. She, on the other hand, is shy and reserved. It’s going to take some tender loving care to gain her trust.

I sometimes recite a little of Mark Twain’s “Blue Jay Yarn” to Huckleberry and he loves it, especially when I get to the part where, well…

“A jay hasn’t got any more principles than a congressman has.  And he can out-swear any gentleman in the mines.  You think a cat can swear?  Well, a cat can.  Most people think it’s the noise which fighting cats make that is so aggravating, but it ain’t so; it’s the sickening grammar they use.  But you give a blue jay a subject that calls for his reserve powers, and where’s your cat?  Oh, a jay’s everything a man is, he loves gossip and scandal, and he knows when he’s an ass, just as well as you do, maybe better. No, it ain’t no use to tell me a blue jay hasn’t got a sense of humor ‘cuz I know better. They bring jays here from all across the United States to look down that hole in the roof, every summer!  And they all laugh; except for an owl that came from Nova Scotia to visit the Yo Semite, and he took this thing in on his way back.  He said he couldn’t see anything funny in it.  But then he was a good deal disappointed about Yo Semite too.”  

Huckleberry always gets a good chuckle out of that last line, but Emmeline just stares at me, as if to say, “Well you certainly can make an ass out of yourself, too.” 

She’ll come around eventually. Meanwhile, I’ll love them both…

Listen to the Audio: https://anchor.fm/mcavoy-layne

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