Phil and Mary are members of the church we started attending almost a year ago. They live in a very elegant and distinctive-looking house on the main street in town. It’s not a new house: Phil says Mary grew up in in the house, and they began living there as a couple after they got married, which was 52 years ago.
The two-story white house looks like what I imagine a mansion in the South might look like. Four large pillars across the front porch support the second story overhang. The attic dormer that faces the street has a beautiful fan-shaped window. There is another large porch at the rear of the house. The doorknob on the front door is in the middle of the door, surrounded by circular molding. The only houses I have ever seen with doors like that have been in British TV programs.
The lot is huge, and there is a narrow ribbon of trees that run along the back edge of the property.
A few years ago the city did extensive work along the street where they live and put in new lovely new sidewalks. It is a great place to walk, and three mornings a week I walk by their house between 8 and 8:30.
One morning in late Fall I was startled to see that the trees along their property line were filled with vultures. I stopped and I was able to count 38 of them, but I know I didn’t get all of them counted because some began to fly off to began the day’s foraging.
The next Sunday at church I mentioned to Mary that I had counted 38 vultures in the trees, and she shuddered and said “60!” Phil said they couldn’t do much to encourage the birds to find somewhere else to spend the night because they are in the city limits. Aside from being in the category of birds that are protected from hunting, he said he didn’t think the local police would take too kindly with him firing a shotgun at them.
We just assumed the birds were gathering before flying off south for the winter. But that hasn't happened. They are still there. Why all of the vultures in the area are roosting in the trees on Phil and Mary’s land, when there are acres and acres of wooded countryside less than a mile in any direction from their house, is indeed an oddment.
Now Phil is a lovely man who has a lively, mischevious sense of humor. He is in charge of making the coffee for Sunday School, and yesterday after the worship service, he was bustling around in the kitchen cleaning the coffee maker, when I drifted in there to get the creamer for my coffee. After I rinsed the spoon and cleaned up the mess I made, he looked at me and said…
“How about some buzzard stew to go with that…?”