The Val & Kit Mystery Series

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Roz Meets Her New Neighbors

My neighbors moved out about two months ago, and their house remains empty. In the two years they had lived next door to me, I spoke to them only twice: once on the day they moved in and again on the day they moved out. That wasn’t planned. I just happened to catch them coming, and literally going. But they seemed nice—a mother, father, two rambunctious young boys, and a dog with a deep, gravelly bark. The rambunctiousness of the boys I had witnessed many times, and heard from my side of the fence that separated our small yards. To be fair, their dog barked only when I was dog-sitting, and the pooch under my charge, and on my side of the fence, was generally the instigator. It was a typical canine a canine to determine which dog could bark the loudest, and brought to a conclusion by me waving a box of Milk-Bones in the air.

I don’t spend much time sitting in my yard, but several days ago, when the Houston weather was at its most perfect (a brief period when it doesn’t feel like you are on the surface of the actual sun), I was enjoying my deck. And that’s when I noticed my new neighbors moving in, but so quietly, I was lucky to have even spotted them.

On the corner of the roof there is a missing triangular piece of wood trim. A perfect spot to build a new house—or in this case, a nest. There was a dove visible at the front entrance of the hidey-hole. Behind him or her I could see what looked like bird furniture (i.e., small branches and sticks). The dove seemed to be ignoring me, and I gave him or her the same courtesy. But come on, we both had one eye on each other.

Not long later Dove #2 appeared, carefully walking along the top of the fence that was the route to the nest. In its mouth was a piece of lumber for the new construction. As soon as it reached its new address, it moved inside and out of view, and then Dove #1 took off. Pretty soon, Dove #2 took up the surveillance at what could possibly be the proposed bay window. #2 remained there until its partner returned with another piece of building material. I watched them for over an hour, so impressed with their efficiency and work ethic.

I’ve now taken to having my morning coffee out on the deck. My new neighbors are still building. As neighbors go, they are quite perfect. We still don’t make eye contact, but I believe they are okay with me.

It occurs to me that I’ve spent more time with my new neighbors (admittedly from afar) than I ever did with the old human ones. I don’t know if that’s a good or a bad thing. But whereas I’ve never been a bird watcher and really know nothing about birds, I’m so enjoying this new couple. In fact, I’m their biggest fan!