An Owl in the Hand is Better Than Too Big A Fish on Land
AS True A Story Ever Been Spoken By Steve Kravetz
This tale I am about to tell may be hard to believe, but I swear it's 100% true, oh ok at least 87% give or take.
Now I remember, I was standing by my desk at Truman Trucking, trying to figure out how I was going to get all the loads I had booked the previous day, all possibly picked up. When the phone rang and my mother was on the other end.
"Harry, you there?"
"Yea, Mom I am here, like where else am I going to be on a Wednesday morning, what's up?"
"I just got the call we all knew was coming, Pop's died in his sleep last night, the funeral will be Sunday at the farm. You're coming right, of course your coming, pick me up early and don't be late."
She hung up, leaving me with dozen of rambling thoughts and emotions. Pop's is,was, my dad's father. He was the last of his family, and I had spent many a summer with him growing up over the years. He lived on a small twenty acre farm, just outside Wills Point.
I can hear him now, "Harry don't slam the screen door," as I would run in and out of the old house all day long. Being a kid I ingnored him any way.
The funeral was attended by just a few people. Mostly the few old timers he had coffee with every morning down at the Whistel Stop Cafe on the towns square. They met to discuss prices of hay, or feed. I always thought it was really just to get away from their wives and their honey do list, but that's never been confirmed or denied. My mom's friends from church of course showed up.
Then I swear to you, I saw an old girlfriend of Pop's, but if it was her, she left before the end of the service. Probably the saintly comments the preacher made about Pop's made her uncomfortable. I myself could not blame her, I was waiting for the lightening to strike the old steele bell at any minute now.
A few of his friends came up to me to ask if I was interested in selling the homestead? "NO," I replyed. "I think I'll keep her, maybe even fixer her up and move in."
The old house was in need of roof to foundation in repairs, every thing leaked, when it rained and when the cold wind blew it came right though , from front to back. The only building on the property that was fit to live in until all the work was done was the old two story barn. My favorite place on the whole farm. It was filled with great smells, like stacked hay, and old hale-filled cans of motor oil and grease. The mechanics shop was there with all the hand tools any man would ever need to fix anything. Of course a few stalls for housrs or cows, neither of which Pop's had to occupy them now. New and old stray cats had come and gone over the years, but the barn became my home that spring, as I went about fixing what I could by myself or with the help from a few handy friends on the weekends. All I had to provide was, beer, fishing gear for my well stocked pond, beer, snacks, and beer.
I begain a new routine. I would now get up a couple hours earlier than before, to do chores, like feeding the chickens I had recently gotten. I also got into the habit of feeding Pop's fish in his large tank/pond. I followed his lead, ring the bell, then throw the feed pelts, and then sit back to watch the action in the water, a real feeding frenzy would show up.
Normally once a routine is set up they are usually easy to follow. Though every time I laid my head down to sleep in the old barn I could not help but to think, "Something is missing here."
The farm also had a small orchard that needed tending too. It was while walking though the blooming fruit tree forest, during that spring.Enjoying the fragrances of the bloomingbuds. That I would find what was missing. Lying on his back was a small chubby baby bird looking up at me with the two largest eyes, squawking like crazy. I looked around but could not find any nest or where he could have come from.
I pulled a handkerchief from my pocket and gently picked the tiny animal up. "Well little one who do you belong too?" I said to the quieted down the chick.
Thus began a new responsibility. This chick will need lots more one on one attention then all of my chickens all together. I would go out at nights to hunt crickets, worms, and other small bugs that I thought the chick would eat, I had made him a small nest and placed it above the work bench. Biggy Eyes, as I started to call him, grew fast and was in short time feeding on mice that I would trap in the barn. It was not too long in this care giver relationship that I realizeed the bird was big eyes was a barn owl chick.
That was what the barn had been missing. Barn owls had always been nesting for generations in this old barn of ours. It was their soothing hooting I had missed.
Biggy Bird or BB as I was now calling him, grew bigger every week and it was no surprise to me that he was trying to fly. Then one night as I opened the barn door he just flew right past me out into the night. My teenager had finnally grown up to take care of himself.
The next morning I was to find a couple small dead mice left by my bed, and BB now inhabited an old previously used nest in the cornor of the barn, near its roof's rafters.
He would go out at to hunt for us and sleep during the days when I was at work. If though, I was home, he would find himself a place to perch close by or even land gently on my shoulder, one of his favorite places to be.
One Sunday morning I was doing my morning duties, and had been BB's practice he would sit on my shoulder while I fed the fish, he seemed fascinated with my feeding and the frenzy it created. I noticed it also got BB equally as excited too.
About the author
I am a 70 plus year old, award winning oral story teller from Rockwall Texas. My first novel took me 34 years to write, published in 2017.Since then I have published two books in 2020. Check out for more info. Authorstevekravetz.com