Pine Nuts: My pet jay

Five months of daily communication with ‘Huckleberry’ has paid dividends. We are now fast friends. Huck was born a couple years ago right here on my deck, and in fact, he fledged straight into a sleeping bag I placed for him on the driveway below.

Estranged from his three siblings, he has not strayed far from home. He wakes me in the morning, accompanies me to the beach in the afternoon, and bids goodnight before flying off to his lodgepole lodging at sunset.

So why has Huck taken to me? It’s not my personality, nor the Mark Twain stories I tell him each day, though he does like, “The Blue Jay Yarn,” and he laughs out loud at this line, “Oh, a jay is everything a man is. He loves gossip & scandal, and he knows when he’s an ass, just as well as you do, maybe better.”

No, it comes down to two precious little words, “Beer Nuts.” Not unlike me, Huck is in love with Beer Nuts. Of course I have to peel them and get the salt off them before whistling, “Don’t Get Around Much Anymore,” which is his breakfast, lunch and dinner bell.

You should see the antics he goes through to amuse me while I prepare his half of a Beer Nut. He has even learned how to dance. Yes, he will hop on one foot and do the Macarena, or at least his version of the Macarena, and puff-out his chest like he’s Winston Churchill about to aver, “Never give in!” It makes me laugh to watch him perform, and my laughter serves to inspire a second and sometimes a third act.

I wish you could watch him go through his antics. He has this little cow-lick that waves around as he snaps his head from side to side, and he really knows how to work that cow-lick. It’s enough to make a cast-iron dog laugh.

I think I might like to come back in my next life as a jay, and make a friend of a human being who has a limitless supply of Beer Nuts. But then I got to wondering, what if that wish were to come true? What if that wish already has come true, and Huck is me from a former life? Well then it’s no longer any wonder that he’s such a lousy dancer. And it’s no longer any wonder that he has a cow-lick just like mine on most mornings.

By the same token, was it any wonder that I put a sleeping bag down on the driveway for him to fledge into, and is it any wonder that I peel his Beer Nuts for him, and remove the salt before laying them out for him to relish. He just could be … a mini-me.

Well, don’t laugh, we all have our little eccentricities to help us over the rough-spots during this infernal pandemic, and my Huckleberry friend just happens to be one of mine …

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

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