It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. When I was 4 years old my grandfather came to visit us from Italy. I remember several things about him, mostly how he smelled like Kool cigarettes though. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times.
From what I recall he would take me to the grocery store which was about 8 blocks away. So we would walk there. I remember holding his hand, and he would go on and on mumbling about something in Italian. He didn't speak any English at all, but somehow he still got by at the grocery store.
On these walks, at the end of my street were these tall bushes that lined someone's yard. Apparently there were sparrows in there nesting. European sparrows, the kind you see everywhere; perhaps the most uninteresting birds there are.
I remember waking up one summer morning and going in the back yard. In the yard was this very big box. The kind you put a TV in. At the time, TVs were pretty big. On top of the box was a wired mesh fence like cover. Inside the box was a sparrow.
A sparrow! How did that get in there? Well my father told me that my grandfather caught him with his hands. It was like Superman caught him he told me. Wow!
I couldn't believe it! He got a bird with his own hands? Magic. Unreal. Wow. Now even for 4 years old could I believe that. I guess even at the time I knew birds were hard to catch.
He just caught the bird, because he could. He put it in a box, so I could see it. As clear as day I remember looking at that scared bird. Then he let him out of the box and he flew away.
Now I'm not sure, but I think he caught another one. That part I don't remember. I do remember my father telling me that the bird was sleeping at night in the bushes; then my grandfather went up to the nest and just grabbed him.
That story still blows me away. Every time I see a sparrow I think about how my grandfather caught him with his bare hands. It's a very simple story, but just think about how many sparrows I've seen? Yes, every single sparrow has reminded me of that event. I didn't know my grandfather that well, but he sure shows up alot still.