The 2nd Mate and the A.B. officially have the Swine flu. The 1st Mate seems to be going down as well, and I don't think the Boy will make it through unscathed. Now that we know we have the Swine flu it is actualy a lot less scary than when it was a mystery disease. According to the doc, the best thing for everyone but the Stowaway (she has a weak constitution) is to get it and have immunity to it.
Anyway, while I was making supper for all of these flu victims, I happened to look out the window and spot a cardinal sitting in a tree. This particular cardinal, Fred, is marked by extraordinarily bright plumage. He is also surprisingly tame. Fred and his mate, Mrs. Peppering built a nest in the rosebush outside a bedroom window. The nest had been abandoned earlier in the summer by some other bird, presumably because they couldn't stand the noise. Mr. and Mrs. Peppering didn't mind the noise, which was good because the boys spent the entire thirteen days of incubation, and even more, the ten days of the chicks growing up with their faces mashed against the window. During the twenty-three days that they lived there, we all became closely acquainted with the chicks. We watched Mrs. Peppering and Fred slave to keep the chicks' stomachs filled. The A.B. took pity on the poor overworked parents and dropped an occasional bug into the nest. This was strictly against orders.
On day ten the chicks began to bail, with some help from Fred. Within two hours the chicks were flying awkwardly around in the clump of trees in front of our house. Mrs. Peppering was the only one who looked distressed. While she seemed to approve of the chicks' leaps out of the nest, she also seemed determined to herd them back in again. By the end of the day they had disappeared, never to return again to the home of their youth. Fred and Mrs. Peppering also became rare sights.
It was strange that Fred showed up today. This morning the Commodore mentioned my being an "adult child living at home." Although I realize that she's right, and that I have to be careful about "sucking up all of the air" that is needed for the younger guys, it was still a little frustrating. Seeing Fred gave me a mental image that gave me an idea that led to understanding. I am perched on the edge of the nest. It isn't big enough for me to fit in all the way, but I'm not ready to jump quite yet. My mom is trying to look after the little guys on the inside, and trying to shove me out of the nest and herd me back into it at the same time while I am also trying to jump and balance on the ledge at the same time. It makes for some prickly moments to work through. We'll get over them I think, as long as God keeps sending cardinal messages.