I cannot honestly say that there was ever a time that I went hungry when I lived in that orphanage in 1)Jacksonville, Florida. I mean, I wish there had been more to eat at times, and there were times when my stomach sure growled a lot at nighttime.
One day our second grade class at Spring Park School was released early because of a 2)fire drill. As I walked back to the orphanage, about a block away from the school, I saw a woman standing on her front lawn eating a sandwich. I stopped and stood there looking at her.
“Can I help you?” she asked me.
“Just looking at that sandwich,” I replied.
“Would you like a sandwich?” she asked me.
“Yes, Ma’am. I guess,” I said.
She walked back into her house and within a minute had come back out holding a sandwich in her hand.
“Here,” she said, handing me the sandwich.
I raised the sandwich to my mouth and I took a bite.
I could feel my eyes roll back into my head as I tasted the wonderful treat.
“This is very good. What is it?” I asked her.
“It is a meat sandwich,” she told me.
“We don’t get much meat at the Children’s Home Orphanage,” I told her.
“If you ever get hungry for meat you can come by here,” she told me, as she walked back into her house and closed the door.
I slowly walked back to the orphanage eating the sandwich and making sure that my mouth was clean so that no one would know that I had eaten a meat thing.
The next day after school I once again walked by her house to see if she was there. Sure enough she saw me and invited me in to eat another meat sandwich.
As I sat at her dining room table I noticed that she had a large black bird locked in a cage at the far end of the room.
“Is that a big, black eagle bird?” I asked her.
“No. That is a talking crow,” she told me.
“Birds can’t talk,” I told her, wrinkling up my forehead in amazement.
“Oh yes they can,” she advised me.
“How can birds talk like human beings?” I asked her.
“You just have to say the exact same things to them over, and over, and over every day and that is how they learn to talk,” she said.
Everyday for almost six months I would come by her house to eat a meat sandwich before returning to the orphanage. When I would knock on her door she would always say, “Just a moment. I am covering the bird cage.”
All the times that I went there I never did hear that bird ever speak a single word. When I asked her why the bird would never talk she told me that birds would not speak when their cage was covered with a cloth.
One day I came by her house and I knocked on her door, but no one answered. Slowly I opened the door and I called out to her. Again no one answered. I slowly walked into the kitchen and I saw a meat sandwich sitting on the table. Beside the sandwich was a note telling me that she could not be there and that I was to eat the sandwich and then lock her door when I left.
After I finished my sandwich I put my plate in the sink and started toward the front door. As I turned back around to see if I had cut off the kitchen light I saw the covered bird cage in the living room.
Slowly, I walked over to the cage and I peeked underneath the cloth. Suddenly, the cloth fell from the cage and onto the floor. The large black bird started jumping up and down, its wings throwing bird seed in every direction. My little heart was beating ninety miles an hour, inside my chest. All of a sudden the bird just stopped dead in its tracks and screamed, at the top of its voice, “There’s that darn kid again. There’s that darn kid again.”
I grabbed the cloth and threw it back over the bird cage as fast as I could and then I ran out the front door. When I got outside I looked all around real, real good. But I didn’t see no darn kid.
1) Jacksonville 杰克逊维尔，美国佛罗里达州东北部港市
2) fire drill 防火演习