When my sister and I were green and youthful singletons*, sharing a happening beach apartment on Pass-a-Grille Beach, we witnessed a Christmas miracle. Of sorts.
(*That time was roughly ten minutes or so ago on the geological time scale.)
Not just any old city bird, this was a pure white dove that stomped in its pigeon-toed way across the thin, sandy carpet of the living room, past the mod, mirrored wall of the dining room, straight into the bathroom where my sister was showering.
"Caa-hooo! Caa-hooo!" the bird insisted.
The bird was nonplussed by the Bottacelli vision of my sister emerging from the shower. The reciprocal –– less so. My sister found the pearly-white creature creepy and unsettling in her personal space, but it was unmistakably a bird of peace, so we put out a dish of water, scattered some crumbs on the patio, and shooed it back outdoors.
The next morning, the dove barged through the door cooing. It waddled straight to her bedroom and hopped onto the pile of blankets covering my sister. "Well, F-ing-A Tweetie," my sister said.
We had a propensity to speak the intensifying phrase "F-ing-A" in a John Wayne accent that year. The sobriquet "Pilgrim" was also heard rather more frequently than one might have wished.
The bird fluffed its feathers and settled more comfortably onto the hump of blankets.
"F-ing-A Tweetie," my sister said. "A Christmas miracle."
The dove said, "Humpf," in bird-language and left a small deposit on the blanket.
F-ing-A-Tweetie lived with us for a week, during the cold snap of that Christmas season. Quite tame, the bird suffered itself to be handled and was happy to settle on the back of the couch when we watched television. It was not banded, though it must have been someone's pet. Unless it truly was a Christmas miracle.
At the turning of the year –– by the Festival of the Epiphany, say –– the visitation ended. Day dawned, and no cooing and no stomping around the house. Then another day and no bird, and another. We hoped that F-ing A Tweetie hadn't been eaten or blown into the Gulf, but that might have been too miraculous to hope for a bird of peace flying around in the world.
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