Hey look, it’s a white owl! Kendra spotted the white owl sitting on the telephone wire shortly after we moved in to our new home on our little piece of dirt. Reminds me of your Grandma Cordone. She watches over all of us from heaven, especially you and Cody, I told her. I don’t know why, but the white owl made me think my Mom was somehow visiting in spirit, manifesting in the form of a beautiful white owl. Defies logic but then again, what good is logic if it can’t be defied.
A few days later, Kendra came in with a present for me. It was a beautiful, white owl feather. I found it in the pasture! Grandma must have left it there for me to find. I think you’re supposed to keep it so you remember. I hugged her, thanked her, and pinky swore I’d always keep it and never forget.
On her ninth birthday, we gave her a new bike. Hurry, let’s do the dishes so we can ride our bikes! This from a little girl who had never, ever uttered those words before. Of course I hurried because I wanted help with the dishes just as much as I wanted to ride our bikes. We pedaled down the road to the bridge. Let’s spit off the bridge! She left fly a loogie and waited for me to take my turn. I can’t spit! I informed her.
The truth of the matter was that it never actually occurred to me to spit, let alone spit off the bridge. Those poor fish. You can’t be a Calhoun if you can’t spit! Her hazel eyes were dancing with merriment. She reminded me of her Grandpa Calhoun in that moment. You have to at least try. C’mon, I’ll show you. With that she left fly again. It seemed like slow motion as I watched its decent, all the while thinking about the fish below. You know, for them it was probably like a Tsunami or something. Just sayin’. You can do it! You CAN do it, can’t you? Good teacher that she was, she showed me once again. You can’t be a Calhoun if you can’t spit! And so I copied her the best way I knew how to, letting loose the lamest excuse for a loogie that ever was. We both laughed so hard. That’s all I’ve got. Let’s ride okay? She rolled her eyes and laughed even harder. I can’t believe you can’t spit! Tears were streaming down our faces now. I told you I couldn’t spit!
We pedaled up the road a bit more and happened upon a dead Peacock. I was so sad to see such a beautiful creature whose spirit had moved on. Kendra took one look and said, Let’s get the feathers! Uh oh. You mean pluck them? She did and so pluck we did. I guessed that since he wasn’t using them anymore so it was okay. We had so much fun, I can’t believe I insisted on doing the dishes before we went on our ride.
Sometimes, my priorities are out of order and it takes a wiser person than I to organize them correctly. We went home with her prized possessions. She shared them with Steve, Cody and me. Let me tell you, there were a lot of feathers.
The next day I told the story and a surveyor, with whom I worked, offered to buy them. He was an avid fly fisherman and he couldn’t believe our good luck. Kendra gave him some and didn’t charge a penny. It was her choice. Feathers are gifts from heaven. We can’t charge somebody for them, can we? How wise can a nine-year old be? Nope, it doesn’t seem right to charge someone for feathers, I agreed.
You know, I taught Kendra how to play the piano on the very piano my Mom used to make beautiful music with. I taught her how to sew and how to bake but in the long run, I learned more from my Princess Peanut than I ever taught her. To this very day, white feathers make their appearance in the most unusual places and at the most unusual times. And as I pinky swore, I never forgot. I might forget where I put my keys or what day of the week it is, but I still have that white owl feather and each new one that comes into our lives is a gift from heaven.