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April 15, 1983 - Image 21

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Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1983-04-15
Note:
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MOM="

BEST OF ANN ARBOR

FICTION CONTEST
.tch a Wounded Pigeon

By Rosemary Lewis
t was one of those almost summer days
that filled the park with mothers,
'abies, joggers, drunks and pigeons. An,
old man sitting on a newly painted ben-
ch was throwing crumbs to the birds.
"All they got in this place is pigeons. I
want to feed sparrows and robins, but all
they got here are these dirty flying
rats."
He kept feeding the birds. People said
that he always complained about them,
but once the weather was warm
enough, the old man was the first one to
bring crumbs for the pigeons.
"You are dirty, dirty birds," he
scolded them with a smile. A few
mangy squirrels worked their way
through the crowd but foundthe crum-
bs just too small to deal with. They left
in search of bigger game.
It was all somewhat enthralling. The
birds cooing loudly and pecking at the
tiny crumbs which seemed to be prac-
tically lost in the cracks of the cement
walkway. Occasionally one or two
would flutter off or a new group would
join up, but mostly they all minded
their own business and kept pecking at
the crumbs.
There had been a group of little boys
- six or seven year olds - who ran up
to the pigeons to scare them off. The
boys screamed and waved their arms
and the birds scattered; some flew,
others waddled off. The old man yelled
at the boys, told them to make trouble
elsewhere. They stuck out their tongues
and left very pleased with themselves.
But now it was just that old man and
the pigeons. He spoke to them and they
cooed at him. The aftrernoon was still
warm, there seemed to be millions of
people in the park that day. Gradually
the old man ran out of bread crumbs. He
kept talking to the birds but they were
bored with him and scattered as they
realized their afternoon meal was over.
"That's right, eat and run you filty
good-for-nothings!" he called after the
last bird. He kept mumbling but only
the sleeping drunk on the next bench
seemed the least bit interested.
There was a small boy walking with
his mother, they were holding hands
casually. In another year or two the little
boy would die of embarassment before
he'd be seen holding his mother's hand.
Public displays of dependence are
avoided at all costs. But that day -
before the summer heat had made him
grouchy or the pressure of his peers had
made him need to feel adult - that day
he walked hand-in-hand with his
mother down the pedestrian walkway of
Riverside Park without a care in the
world.
Perhaps it was the sound of the old
man's voice that caught his attention at
first, or the stench of that poor, old
drunk, or the bright, new orange paint on
the bench. But whatever made the little
boy look over there, it was the pigeon
that kept his attention.
Underneath the bench, to the left of
the old man's legs, there was one
single pigeon. He wasn't pecking at any
miniscule bread crumbs. He wasn't
cooing. He was sort of leaning in a
bewildered way. If there had been any
room for expression in those small

v

Most likely to pick a fight
Bo Schembechler
MICHIGAN FOOTBALL COACH Glenn "Bo" Schembechler was named on
some ballots as the man in Ann Arbor most likely to pick a fight. While Schem-
bechler's tendencies to reach out and punch someone have dissipated since
slugging former Daily sports editor Dan Parrent in 1979, the Wolverine coach is
still apt to argue and complain when the situation warrants.
Bo's tirades this year have been directed in many ways - from storming onto
the field during Michigan's 31-27 regular-season loss to UCLA, to leading the
charge of coaches against the United States Football League.
In the past, Schembechler has fought for a rule against freshman eligibility, Big
Ten officiating, night football games, Anthony Carter's old girlfriend, and
disdaining option football in favor of a passing attack. The Michigan coach, whose
record at Michigan is 131-28-3, has also defended his large contract increase during
the state's recent recession, and hopes to fight for another Big Ten football cham-
pionship this fall.
Fighting vociferously for his own beliefs, Schembechler has proven that he is
most likely to pick a fight in Ann Arbor.

black eyes, it would have been con-
fusion. What am I doing here? But he
seemed calm enough, he had found a
safe niche' there under the bench,
staying cool in the old man's shadow,
and he did not seem intent on going
anywhere.
But then the boy spotted him. His
mother took a step before she realized
that he had stopped walking. She felt
herself yanked gently back to him by
the pull of his small hand.
"Look," he said as he pointed with his
free arm. The mother saw a derelict
and a sleeping drunk. She wanted to
pass by them and ignore the seedy
looking park people. The boy pulled
loose and ran over to the bench. He
kneeled down and started cooing at the
pigeon. No response.
"What's wrong with this bird, Mom-
my? How come he's not flying
around?"
The mother looked at the bird and
moved next to her son. She had only
lived in the city since her divorce two
months before and she hated it. She
hated the garbage in the streets. She
hated the cockroaches. She hated the
noises she heard at night. She felt
scared and dirty all the time. She had
thought today would be different as she
took her son for a walk in this "family
park." Some park, she thought, there's
more cement than grass. All she wan-
ted was to get away from the filth for
just a little while, but it was all around
here, it was everywhere in the city. It
had followed her and the boy to the
park.
"Can we take him home?" the boy
had said, but all she saw was his hand
reaching out to touch the bird. She
screamed as she thought of the lice and
rabies. She screamed to keep her son
from touching the polluted animal. To
keep him from becoming polluted.
The boy drew back quickly and the
bird tried to fly away but its wings were
stubs and it just managed to fall on its
back. The boy stared at his mother's
shocked expression. Someone had
broken the bird's wings. Maybe it had
been attacked by a dog, but it seemed
that the wings had been cut off with a
knife. The bird had managed to get off
its back but kept flapping the bloody
stubs in a painfully futile attempt to fly
away.
The woman grabbed her son's arm
and practically carried him as she
rushed off.
"I don't want you ever to touch one of
those birds ... they are dirty. . . Do you
hear me? Never, ever touch a bird like
that! !" Her voice carried loud and
clear through the spring air. She and
her son were soon out of sight and only
the old man remained with the pigeon.
It had finally stopped moving and it was
not cooing gently. The noise it was
making seemed to be some type of song
or prayer. Yes, the bird seemed to be
praying melodically for its life.
The old man looked around him and
opened his mouth. For a moment it
seemed he would say something, but he
just took a breath. A very deep breath
as though he had stopped for several
minutes and had to consciously start his

' ',J

"~I ~ I

v ll ' d1

Best arm Wor
Best basketball playeraathl
Eric Turner Jan Boyd (softball)
Tra

Best and most irequenuly
injured tennis player
Marian Kremer
Best dressed athlete
Eric Turner
Best Michigan coach
Brian Eisner, tennis
Best place to watch an
athletic event
Ray L. Fisher Stadium on a
sunny day

Bes
Nor
The
team.
BI
For
shot ti
confer
the res
underq
layup.

lungs up again. Then he looked down at
the bird and reached his hands towards
it. The slats of the bench were in the
way so it was impossible to tell whether
the man took the bird or if the creature
had walked into his hands, but the man
stood up holding the pigeon.
The bird sat quietly, cooing softer
now, but just as firmly, not trying to

move at all. The old man turned and
walked away.
"You are a dirty, filthy creature -
you hear me?" he said and then he
laughed softly.
The drunk woke up. He was still
groggy but certain enough of his own
hearing. It was the old man cooing now,
together with the bird as they headed
towards home.

GARDEN
Restaurant

.*i

SZECHUAN, HUNAN & PEKING CUISINE
Best Chef A ward Winner in Washington, D.C.
Rated#1
in carryout service among Chinese restaurants in this area
by The Ann Arbor News.

3035 Washtenaw Avenue, Ann Arbor,I
Open 1 Days A Week 11:30 a.m.-10 p.m.
971-0970
FreeParking*Moderate Prices , Parties Welcome

MI 48104

Best hockey players
Ted Speers and Brad Tippett
WHEN YOU SPEAK of Michigan hockey in the past season, pleasant
thoughts don't quickly come to mind. But there was one bright spot in the
season that would definitely be the play of senior co-captains Ted Speers and
Brad Tippett.
These two seemed to do everything together this year. They played on the
same line for much of the season and when the Wolverines were faced with a
short-handed or power-play situation, the two seniors were always on the
ice. They even tied for the team scoring lead and at the awards banquet,
shared the Deker's MVP trophy.

Ti
Biggest sports ri
Dave Miller, Michigan
THIS GUY spent the entire season trying to wa
on his hands. It was apparent that Miller could r
season, but he continually fell short of his goal.
milked the stunt for all its worth, he finally succe
(big surprise).

20 Weekend/April 15, 1983

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