Back in the days when I stood shorter than my mother, the boy who lived next door to me trapped a sparrow in his dad’s garage. He didn’t hurt it. He just wanted to see it fly around for a while. After about ten or so minutes of watching it flutter hither and yon, he raised the garage door and let it fly free.
He and I decided to celebrate his amazing feat of bird trapping by stuffing our faces with junk food, so we got on our pushbikes and rode to the neighborhood milk bar. A milk bar is like the Aussie version of an American drugstore, minus the drugs, though you can buy aspirin there, and some of the locally manufactured colas could land you on Mars if you sculled enough of them.
Anyway, after purchasing our bounty of teeth-rotting treats, we got on our bikes and headed back home.
Rain, Rain, Go Away!
Now, we lived at the top of a road that was so steep the only way you could ride your bike up it was to zigzag all of the way, and even then you could do so only if you were feeling especially energetic. This particular day neither of us could be bothered doing the zigzag thing, so we got off our bikes and started pushing them up the hill. Halfway up, it began to rain.
There wouldn’t have been anything unusual about this except for the fact that it was a sparkling summer day without the faintest wisp of a cloud in the sky. To add to the strangeness of the downpour, the raindrops were white and they left almost paintball-sized splats on the bitumen.
When we finally realized what was happening we laughed until tears tumbled from our eyes.
We stood watching the flock of sparrows that had just strafed us with birdie number twos fly into the distance, then noticed that not a single drop had hit its mark.
A sparrow might never forget, but it’s a lousy shot.