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~28 June 2004~

Al Fresco con Amici

by Jim Goudelock

Tonight, I dined with Mr. Lazuli Bunting. He was properly dressed in bright blue feathers from head to shoulder with a rust colored vest. I just wore shorts and a sweaty t-shirt. He didn't seem to mind. Nor did I consider him over dressed.

I had salmon filet, marinated in mushroom soy sauce, honey and lime juice, covered with dill and grilled with rosemary smoke, pink and white rice and a salad with home made ginger vinaigrette. My dear friend, Mr. Bunting, had cracked corn, sunflower seeds and millet. We didn't talk much. We seldom do. He's always a bit nervous, jerking his head and looking furtively around as he dines. He likes me to move slowly and deliberately and keep my secrets to myself.

The bull bats were buzzing overhead. They called out to us diners, beezzzp, beezzp as they gained altitude, circling ever upward. Laz (sometimes, I call him Laz; we try not to be too formal) and I stole glances upward at them as we ate. We didn't see them as they reached the apex of their climb. Neither did we see them start their dive. We couldn't follow them to witness the increased velocity up to 200 mph. We only heard them as they put on feather air brakes, so suddenly that their wings vibrated, whhhoooooop, as they pulled up from the dive and looked over at the bull bat girls (cow bats, perhaps?). The girls pretended not to be impressed, but they were. Hell, Laz and I were impressed to the point of singular admiration. We're both bold and attractive to some extent, each in our own way, but we aren't about to do that dive just to get the girl. Not any more, at our ages, anyway.

The clouds hanging to the south moved off to the east. Three quarters of La Luna peeked out, her countenance slowly being revealed completely under a cool, filmy haze. She winked coyly and moved casually southwest as she always does this time of the year. A robino sang insistently, repeatedly to a distant robina. There was no wind, no noise. Laz was restless nonetheless. He left without so much as a burp or an excuse me. There was a little flutter and a bit of a scratch as his tiny little wings and claws departed milliseconds before and after each other.

It didn't exactly get dark, but daylight definitely surrendered to night. It got cooler. The birds got quiet. A poorwill began to moan. The neighborhood owl hooted softly. The beginning of the end of this day arrived. I got up and cleared the table.

There's nothing better than good food and good company on a summer evening.


Mississippi native Jim Goudelock writes:
"Here are the first lines of my autobiography: 'So far, my life has been like a country song, full of joy and pain. Enough joy to keep me interested, and not enough pain to make me quit. It's been like the day you go trout fishing and get one bite within five minutes of unrolling your line. That's enough to keep you casting all day, even if you don't catch a damned thing.'"

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Read more of Jim's stories at USADS:
Applejack and Rent Money
Sweet Home
Pelican Ballet

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