[Tweeters] Air Force One

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Tue Nov 18 11:06:57 PST 2014

Another calm cold morning here in Port Townsend, and I awakened to the early morning sounds of a crowing Junglefowl (chicken), and to Air Force One.

Air Force One? No, the President is not landing in Port Townsend. Air Force One is a bird.
While I now think of my parents house as 'Alzheimer's Acre', it wasn't always that way - of course. My folks had their 'retirement' house here built 24 years ago. Back in the day ,Dad was an excellent amateur woodworker and he built the cabinets in the kitchen here - wonderfully designed and practical works of carpentry. All the drawers and cabinets all working perfectly still.
Way back when I was a kid, Dad built a big platform bird-feeder for our West Seattle yard, which was a great thing for a young birdwatcher like me. The thing was a real campground shelter kind of deal for the birds.
About 20 years ago, I was over here visiting, and sitting in a chair by the front picture windows one day, I felt like I was being watched. I turned around to see a great big Glaucous- winged Gull staring at me from the deck rail about 5ft away - a bit surprising , that close.
Dad, sitting nearby, said "Oh, that's Air Force One". Amusingly, while he had built a great big bird-feeder for small birds back in West Seattle, here he had made a little tiny feeder (about the size of a big can of sardines) just for Air Force One, attached to the deck rail.
Gone for a few days back to Everett, I came back to find the reincarnation of Air Force One sitting on the deck rail staring in the kitchen sliding glass doors, yelling for food. Same name, different plane. Mom has been throwing bread rinds out to the gulls all Summer and Fall, down on the ground below. The elderly are prone to be victimized by all sorts, and in my brief absence, Air Force One had created a new mooching niche for itself - the hoser.
As de facto head of Deck Maintenance, I couldn't help but notice the white-wash job the big Gull was doing to 'my' newly stained deck. I imagine this was the reason why the original Air Force One was discouraged way back when, but now my demented Mother had been giving in to this noisy demanding brat, and was feeding it on the deck. Oh well.
After watching the twerpy little birds, like chickadees, bushtits, kinglets, sparrows and such in the wisteria vine along the deck, Air Force One seems like a good name for the relatively huge gull, especially at close range.
Thank God a Trumpeter Swan hasn't found this place yet. What would you call that? Hindenburg, I guess. The Hindenburg deck disaster.
Jeff Gibsonreporting fromPort Townsend Airport

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