by Dolores Davis
Once there was a raven couple that followed Woman on her morning walks, because she fed them from a bag of treats. He was stout, with a hooked beak and a bold presence. She was smaller, cautious and demure. Woman named them Reginald and Regina.
Early one morning, they perched high on a leafless bough, waiting for Woman. Reginald’s feathers shone iridescent in the light of the rising sun. He preened and said, “I remember my grandparents telling how People hung packets of seeds and dried fruit on trees like this for birds during the holidays.”
Regina said, “People today are far too busy this time of year to think about birds. We should just focus on the scraps in fast food boxes at parks.”
“You’re probably right, but we still have ‘Woman.’
“I’m bored of waiting for her, perched in this tree,” she said. “Isn’t she up yet?”
“She should be. She used to come earlier. Maybe if we make a lot of noise, that will bring her out.”
Regina began croaking as loudly as she could.
Soon Reginald said, “Quiet, she’s coming down the steps.”
Reginald cocked his head and spied down on Woman with black gleaming eyes. “She has the dog leashed. And she’s brought our bag of goodies. Caw-Caroo! I wonder what’s in it this morning.”
“I hope she didn’t bring apples. They’re too…appley,” Regina said, fluffing her feathers.
“I like them.”
“You like everything.”
“That’s not true.”
“I do like her banana bread,” Regina said. “I hope she has some today.”
“Quick, she’s tossing food on the lawn. Go get some. I’ll chase off the competition.” Reginald dove down, squawking at two encroaching birds.
Anxiously, Regina swayed back and forth on her perch. “I don’t like getting that close to People. I’ll wait till she moves on.”
“She’s harmless, can’t you see?” Reginald started nibbling at a morsel on the lawn.
“But she walks with a dog, and you can never trust a dog.”
“You don’t have anything to fear from Woman. She’s even given us pet names. I am Reginald and you are Regina.” He drew back his head. “Sometimes she calls me ‘Reggie.’”
“Caw-caroo for you, ‘Reggie.’” She soared to the lawn and joined him pecking at the treats.
“Don’t be jealous, my love,” said Reginald.
“I saw you that morning you flew down and brushed her hair with your wing.”
“I’m just cultivating a food source, my dear.”
“I’ve also noticed that you hop alongside her.”
“She likes it when I jump in front of her and demand more food.”
“Eat fast before more birds get here.”
“What is this we’re having this morning?” she said.
“I think these are pieces of molasses cookies. I detect ginger.”
“I don’t know how you can tell what we’re eating.”
“It’s easy if your smell and taste are keen as mine.”
“Well, it looks like Woman is out of goodies. Time to fly home.”
“Go. I’ll be along soon,” he said.
“You just want to serenade Woman.”
“If you don’t mind, my dear.”
“Well, it is the holiday season…”