The View from Puncheon Creek: Grandpa had a Crow

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

Lin Marshall knew all about hard work, it was how he overcame much hardship in life. Lin had his faults as do we all, but he had character and took pride in providing for his family. Grandpa Lin was 61 years old when I was born. 

That didn’t matter, he doted on me from the day of my birth to his death over 30 years later. He more than helped with my upbringing, buying most of my clothes and seeing to it that I had advantages he never had. As I already noted Grandpa had a few faults, the most obvious of which was a propensity when agitated to curse like a drunken backslider. But what he really was is a man who loved life and family. He loved the house on Mash Branch where I was born, the house he handcrafted from log to lumber using hand tools and a strong body. It was warm in winter and cool in summer and always an oasis where I could always find refuge from life’s many thorns.

“What about the crow?” you are no doubt wondering by now. I will get to Mr. Crow shortly, but first let us take a look at crows in general.

Crows, ravens and rooks belong to the same family. Crows can be seen all over the world. There are about 40 species of crow but the American crow is the one this story is about. Crows are extremely intelligent birds. They are well known for their problem-solving skills and ability to communicate with each other. Crows recognize individual human faces and if you are mean to one it will tell all others on you, teaching them how to single you out. Crow offspring from prior years often help their parents feed their younger siblings proving, at least to me, they comprehend the concept of family.

As I recall, the story of how Grandpa become the owner of a pet crow, it was by finding a little fledgling in the aftermath of cutting down a tree. This little feller was raised by hand but was never a caged bird. As he grew he was allowed to come and go as it suited him.

Grandpa had begun to notice numerous items were going missing, but why he could not figure out. Someone had to be pilfering his stuff, but who could it possibly be? No one had been seen around the place. Grandpa got the answer when he was working on flooring his porch. Laying his only hammer down to fetch a board he was surprised to find it missing when he returned a minute later. Hearing a caw overhead Grandpa looked up to see his hammer in the clutches of Mr. Crow. Following on foot as fast as possible, least the hammer be dropped in the woods, Grandpa was able to locate Mr. Crow’s secret stash. There he found all his missing items among many other things. There were shiny coins, marbles, a razor and numerous other baubles. Grandpa couldn’t stay mad at Mr. Crow.