Pine Nuts: Even blue jays know what’s fair


Huckleberry and Emmeline are pet Jays that stop by for breakfast, lunch and Happy Hour. This morning, quite out of the ordinary, they showed up together, and got into a furious fight over a peanut. I had to go out onto the deck and separate them. Huckleberry got that peanut and positioned himself to get in ahead of Emmeline for seconds. So I tossed Emmeline’s fair share to her and darned if Huck didn’t hop onto the rail in front of me and flap his wings in protest, as if to say, “Hey, that’s not fair!”

Moreover, Emmeline knew it was fair and flashed me a wink with those beautiful eyelashes of hers, leaving me in a sense of wonder, and I had to laugh out loud.

It then occurred to me that if jays can disagree on what’s fair, wouldn’t it be natural for human beings to disagree on what’s fair? Naturally it would, and oh boy does it ever happen …

Just for fun, I’d like to weigh in on what I see as fair through the eyes of a stump-tail philosopher. So here goes if you will indulge me…

1. To vaccinate or not to vaccinate: This is a litmus test for good citizenship and it is only fair to get vaccinated.

2. Abortion: This is not a decision for men to make, as we caused the problem. It is not a decision for women to make, it is a decision for a woman to make.

I would go on, but don’t have the credentials, so I will just shut down my gristmill with this thought, whenever you come across the word, “God,” try substituting the words, “Mother Nature,” and you will find yourself on a path toward saving this little blue ball that we have affectionately come to call, “Mother Earth.”

But getting back to Huckleberry and Emmeline, they have learned how to count up to two, and I dare say they could go even higher. As I set that first peanut on the rail I whistle their favorite tune, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore.” They love that tune, and each of them, in turn, will swoop down for a peanut almost before I can get my hand out of the way. When I set out the second peanut I don’t whistle their favorite tune, but say, “This is it, Huckleberry, come back for Happy Hour, now go home and look after your kids.” With those words he will stop pecking on the window to get my attention. I go through the same routine with Emmeline, and they both respond in kind, except when they show-up together and fight like hell over a solitary peanut. I shall remain patient, and as the neighborhood builder of bird character, culture and conduct, try to teach Huckleberry and Emmeline to exhibit grace of person, manners and gentle good will. It’s only fair, and we all need to follow their blitheful and blissful spirits!

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at


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