HARRY: ROBIN EXTRAORDINAIRE!

HARRY: ROBIN EXTRAORDINAIRE!

A Story by Tina Kline
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A story about love and a promise kept.

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    “Harry told me when he died he was coming back as a robin.” Grandma told me. Then she went on to say, “When ever I see a robin in the yard I know it’s Harry coming to say ‘Hi’.”

    Harry being Grandma’s husband who died 40 years ago. And Harry being the grandfather I never met.

    We sat at the round kitchen table and I looked out the window onto the backyard dominated by a massive Silver Maple tree Grandma planted in the yard sometime in the 1930s. I loved that Maple Tree.

    So did the robins. Every morning in the spring a robin would warble somewhere in the concealing leafy branches.  Was that robin Harry coming to serenade Grandma? When ever Grandma watered in the early morning with a sprinkler robins would appear on the lush green lawn for worms. Was one of those robins Harry?

    “When ever I go out in the backyard there’s always a robin following me. I know it’s Harry.” Grandma took a bite of one of her homemade chocolate chip cookies.

    I was nibbling on one too. “Do you really believe Grandpa came back from the dead as a robin?”

    “He always said he would if he died first. He said I would never be alone.”

    I was a teenager and I thought that was so romantic and sad at the same time. Grandma had been alone since the early 40s. Her husband had died young.

    Grandma thought it was the cigars a friend of his had gotten him to smoke when he was in the movie theater business. Later I would suspect it was the Mustard Gas soldiers were repeatedly sprayed with in World War I.

    “Harry loved robins. He loved their singing.” Grandma took another bite of her cookie then followed that with a large sip of her coffee.

    “That’s cool he would tell you he’d be back as a robin.” I didn’t believe it but yet, why not. Reincarnation. Lots of people believed it. Who could know the truth?

    I looked out the window again. I saw a robin on the lush green lawn. It didn’t seem to be doing anything. Could it be? Hmm? Speculation. It was summer and the Silver Maple’s broad canopy kept the backyard of Grandma’s house cool and helped keep the lawn green. A good place for robins to hunt worms. I watched the robin. It hopped about a bit then with a loud warble it flew up into the Maple Tree.

    Harry? Is that you? I sent those thoughts to the robin as it disappeared from my view within the leafy Silver Maple tree’s branches.

 

    A couple weeks later I went to visit Grandma again. She was out in the garden working when I stopped by. I came upon her resting a bit, leaning on the handle of a slightly smaller sized version of a garden shovel. She hadn’t seen me yet and didn’t know I was there. I saw she was looking down at something. I stood by the gate to her yard not opening it watching her. I knew it would make enough noise for her to hear me and startle the robin on the lawn at the edge of the garden in front of her.

    Jeez, I thought, is that Harry? Was he really truly a robin? I watched, feeling frightened and confused and excited as the robin hopped toward Grandma. I watched as she bent down as far as she could, holding out her arm. I watched as the robin hopped the last few inches toward her then hopped flew the few feet upward it took to reach her arm. Grandma had on a plaid wool jacket that gave the robin something to hook its clawed feet onto.

    I was really stunned as I watched. I think I forgot to breathe and forced myself to take quick shallow breaths to get air back into my lungs. I didn’t want to make any noise by gasping for breath to get the air back into me.

    Grandma slowly straightened and held up her arm. I could easily see she was talking to the robin perched on her sleeve covered arm. Her voice drifted across her yard to me very softly. And I could see the robin’s beak moving slightly. Was it talking back? Was it actually responding? I didn’t know what to make of this and felt my heart racing at an alarming rate. Harry! It had to be Harry come back as a robin like he claimed he would.

    He had meant what he said and he had kept his promise to Grandma.

    I watched a few more minutes until Grandma held out her arm slightly aloft and the robin took flight from it up into the shadowy cool concealment offered by the huge Silver Maple tree.

    Then the spell broke. I loudly opened the gate and walked into the yard acting like I had just got there. “Hi Grandma.” I called.

    She said hi back and came out of the garden where she had been working. We went inside and she got out a plate of her home made cookies and poured herself a hot cup of coffee. We talked awhile. I didn’t say anything about what I saw.

    Harry the robin, I thought amazed. After that I often saw Grandma working in her garden or yard with a robin nearby. It was always a male robin, I need to add. The one I saw on her arm that she had been talking to had been a male robin. It was always a male robin that I spotted hovering close by her. It was always a male robin I would unexpectedly see her talking to.

    Harry kept his word. That was all it could be. He had returned as a robin after he died so she wouldn’t be alone.

    “How’s Harry?” I would often ask after that incident in the garden with her and the robin.

    “He’s doing well.” Grandma would always answer, like asking about Harry was something ordinary and expected.

    Then one day in early fall while sitting at the round table in Grandma’s kitchen sharing some of her home made cookies I looked out the open back door and saw a male robin on the railing.

    “There’s a robin on the back porch Grandma.” I told her.

    “That’d be Harry. I haven’t been out in the garden today. He knows I need to get some yard work done.”

    I looked back at the robin. He was still there watching me.

    “Hi Harry.” I said to the robin.

    The robin burst into a beautiful warble! I was shocked!  He was answering me!

    “Coming Harry!” Grandma said smiling.

    I followed her outside and over to one of her gardens. So did the robin. Running across the yard behind us after flying down off the porch railing.

    Well, I was convinced. I had no doubt any longer.

    I wondered years later after watching Grandma interacting with Harry the robin all that time if he left his robin form and went with Grandma to the other side when she died. After all, he came back to earth as a robin so she wouldn’t have to be alone. I doubted he would want her to go to the other side without him and be alone there either.



 

© 2010 Tina Kline


Author's Note

Tina Kline
I got the idea for this short story from Grandma. She use to tell us, her grandkids, that her husband, Harry, told her that if he died first he would come back to her as a robin.

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Featured Review

This brought tears to my eyes Tina, it is such a beautifully poignant write and I was glued into the story beginning to end. Your words flow with an easy reading rhythm...I just loved it, everyone should have a grandma like yours, one who delivers hope in a chocolate chip cookie!
Cheers from OZ,

Helen~

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.




Reviews

A beautiful, warm story. So nicely done. Great write.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Wonderful piece! A very touching story. Lots of love and sentiment. A very pleasant story to read.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Great story! I can't wait until the next chapter!


Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

This brought tears to my eyes Tina, it is such a beautifully poignant write and I was glued into the story beginning to end. Your words flow with an easy reading rhythm...I just loved it, everyone should have a grandma like yours, one who delivers hope in a chocolate chip cookie!
Cheers from OZ,

Helen~

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

What a comforting, loving story!
I'm glad I read this today :)

Thank you for sharing!!

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

Awesome and so wonderful. Can't help but love this story. It's all about love.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

A very heartwarming and touching story. One can't help but come away with a good feeling. I'd like to believe something like this can happen.

Posted 9 Years Ago


1 of 1 people found this review constructive.

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Rob
Touching throughout. Honest in presentation. Lovely, heart-touch wrap at the conclusion with a feeling their story could go on.

Posted 9 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

This was beautiful and so moving. I loved the connection here. It was heartwarming. Well executed. An wonderful story...

Posted 9 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.

COOL! I LOVE THIS!

Posted 9 Years Ago


2 of 2 people found this review constructive.


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Added on June 24, 2010
Last Updated on June 27, 2010
Tags: Love, reincarnation

Author

Tina Kline
Tina Kline

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When Venus gets too close catfish have been known to come up out of the water onto the shore, feed awhile, then go back in. It's business as usual in the Apocalypse. And business is very good right.. more..

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