But Remember, It's a Sin To Kill A Mockingbird

It was a hot southern October day and Chase was playing in the backyard. I was at the kitchen sink washing dishes and happened to spy him through the window poking at something in the grass. As I flung open the back door, Chase continued to sniff and prod the tall grass. This was bad. I knew that there was something of interest to the dog in the weeds that had taken over my entire back yard. I gingerly made my way to my dog and pulled him back by the collar. He tried to squirm away and as I dragged him back toward the house, he began to bark and pull violently. I managed to toss him back into the house and he attacked the glass storm door trying to force his way out. I retraced my steps to a clump of weeds and pulled them aside. A mockingbird stared up at me.
My dog had caught a mockingbird. I was stunned. One of my favorite books is To Kill a Mockingbird and as much as I could remember, it wasn’t a good thing. I also held a fondness for Rime of the Ancient Mariner which again has a bird killing theme in it that is basically “don’t do it”. I was determined not to have this albatross / mockingbird hanging around my neck!
I could tell that the bird was still alive but since it wasn’t flying off, I wasn’t sure how long it would remain in its present condition. I am not a bird veterinarian and had no intention of examining the mockingbird any further. I quickly donned a bright orange pair of Home Depot work gloves and secured the bird. I glanced around the backyard and surveyed my two neighbors. The neighbor to the left was not at home so I casually dropped the bird into a bush in her back yard. I made sure that it was still alive before retreating back inside my house. I figured if the bird died, my neighbor would assume that her Jack Russell terrier did it.
October turned into November and I hadn’t seen my neighbor in a few weeks. Hay bales and rotting pumpkins still decorated a corner of her front lawn. In December I saw her a few times at the mailbox but she had not been inside the house for nearly two months. The Halloween decorations were now compost. For my Christmas letter, I mentioned the mockingbird incident and joked that the neighbor must be proud of her terrier. By February, there was a flurry of activity around the neighbor’s house. Several men and women were emptying it of all contents. A few days later I learned that my neighbor had lost her house and it had been resold at auction.
Was it my dog’s fault? I suppose I will never know. I am not a superstitious person; however I have no regrets about tossing that bird over the fence.
And I had done an hellish thing,
And it would work 'em woe :
For all averred, I had killed the bird
That made the breeze to blow.

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