News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Liz Ciancone

April 9, 2013

LIZ CIANCONE: A robin stops to welcome the spring

TERRE HAUTE — I saw a robin the other morning. It was not the first robin of spring, of course. A few of the more daring robins had opted to spend the winter and, although they looked pretty sorry about it on a few occasions, it was a fairly mild winter.

The robin in view the other morning was a particularly dapper specimen. He stood straight and tall with his chest thrust out like a novice soldier ready for inspection. The red-orange out there for everyone to see and understand why he is called a “robin red breast.”

I figured maybe he had been given some advance notice on a temperature warm-up and maybe he had. It did get warmer for the weekend. Now maybe it will rain and he can have some soft grass to make it easier to dig his lunch out of the ground.

I remarked on it to my Best Friend and added that the robin reminded me of my days in 4-H Club. My BF was bewildered by this. There doesn’t seem to be much correlation between birds and 4-H although raising chickens was one option as a club project.

No, what reminded me of 4-H was that our leader of the female group at Yorkville had a novel way of taking attendance. Instead of responding “here” when our name was called, she requested a sort of mini-analysis by asking us to respond to a question of the week and to follow up our response by explaining why our answer meant something to us.

I recall that in one instance we were asked to respond by telling our favorite color — and why we especially liked that color. Her question was always interesting and so were the answers: what was our favorite animal and why, what was our favorite meal or dessert and once we were asked to name our favorite bird and why. That’s where my robin came into mind.

Most of my fellow 4-H’ers went with the colorful or exotic. There were a lot of cardinal and bluebird fans and even a canary. Some went for the peacock or a pheasant. But when my turn came, I chose the robin. It got a few laughs but I explained that I wasn’t trying to be different, but my favorite bird was — and IS — the robin because everyone is so glad to see it in the spring after a cold and snowy winter.

I doubt that my preference made a dime’s worth of difference to the dapper little bird I saw the other morning, but he seemed to be welcoming spring. I’m ready, too, and I was happy to see him looking so well.

Liz Ciancone is a retired Tribune-Star reporter. Send email to opinion@tribstar.com.

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