You can name us. . . . . . . . .
. .Wade . and . Jooper. . . . .
by Roberta Denn
As the sun was going down in the evening, the Cobb family were all nestled in a bedroom with Grandpa Cobb laying comfortably in his bed. Grandpa Cobb was old and sick. He loved being around his family but knew it was time to go to heaven and let his family remember him in his good old days. He squeezed the hands that held his. Grandpa Cobb’s grandson was crying softly as he clung to his Grandpa’s hand.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the pasture, Wade and Jooper were playing tag on a Mulberry bush, while sneaking berries in their beaks as an early morning snack. Of all the cardinals, Wade and Jooper were the best of friends. They lived in the same grouping since they were born. They both were strikingly red and could be seen from a mile away. For now, they played, until their school session started.
Ms. Beakling was the bird teacher. She was going to teach the new and upcoming cardinals about their role with death and grieving.
“Okay, okay juvenile cardinals . . . let’s get in our seats. We have some serious lessons to learn today.”
Wade and Jooper took their seats and were waiting for their teacher to start.
Ms. Beakling drew a picture of a bird using her red chalk and while coloring it in, the class recognized it quickly. She then put an equal sign on the board and wrote the words “sign from heaven” next to it.
= SIGN FROM HEAVEN
“You see, boys and girls, we are an amazing creature. We are all types of red and we are known in the spiritual world as comforters.”
“Spiritual?” Wade asked while raising his wing.
“Yes, spiritual. Everything in this world is not to be seen . . . but some things are to be felt. We can’t SEE spirit . . . but we can FEEL spirit. It’s in our thoughts, we feel it in our hearts, it’s like an emotion. We can feel its presence, but we can’t actually touch it. Does that make sense to all of you?” All the red birds nodded their heads. “Spirits come from heaven. And that is where we come in.
“Today, I am here to let you in on a little secret about cardinals. Most humans don’t understand HOW this works. And I’m not sure how to explain it, other than to just tell you this. Now, little ones, listen closely.” Ms. Beakling started hopping down the aisles, in between the juvenile’s desks . . . she started to talk again, but this time it was in a soft whisper. “We, Cardinals . . . are MAGICAL!” All the juveniles looked around at each other and drew in their breath through their beaks . . . all at once, everyone let out an “EEP” of surprise and delight.
This time it was Jooper who raised his wing, “We are MAGicalllllll?”
“Yes, Jooper, we are. Let me explain this in the simplest way. When humans die and go to heaven, they are always with their loved ones, but in spirit only. Sometimes, humans will think about their loved ones and get really, really sad, hoping and wishing that their loved ones will come back to life, to talk to them . . . they want to know that the human that died is still with them and is thinking of them. THIS, my sweet juveniles, are where WE come in.
“We can hear the human voices that have died. They count on US to let the living humans know their loved ones are thinking of them. How? You ask. Just by showing up, and the living human sees us near them!!!! Isn’t that just soooo magical?”
All the juveniles were smiling and giddy with a newfound pride.
“So, when you see a human looking sad, your magical powers will help you hear the human that they lost and went to heaven. Your magical powers will then send you a message to deliver. You, my magical juveniles, will go to where the human is and show yourself to them.”
Wade lifted his wing, “Are we supposed to sit on their head? Or jump into their hands?” Ms. Beakling giggled generously at the juvenile’s innocence. “No, Wade.” The teacher hopped back into the aisles where the students were. “Class . . . when our magical powers go to work, we don’t have to jump in front of the human to make the magic appear. We can fly across the street that they’re driving on, or plop into the backyard and peck at the ground. We can jump on the stoop by their back window or sing loudly so they look up in the tree and see us. When the human sees us, they will think of their human in heaven and thank us for giving them “a sign” that they were thought of.”
Jooper thought about this for a few moments. He then extended his wing one last time, “How will I know I have the magical powers?” With a twinkle in Ms. Beakling’s eye, she smiled and said, “Son, you already have the powers . . . you just needed to LEARN about them, so you can use them!”
Ms. Beakling hopped back to the front of the class. She opened the window and said to her graduating juveniles, “Make me proud beautiful cardinals. Spread your magic out there and heal the sad and lonely. Every little bit counts!”
Jooper and Wade flew out of their seats excited to learn how special they were and how they could be helpful to others. They both flew towards their nests and said they planned on working their magic when they were needed.
The following day, the Cobb family was still with Grandpa Cobb in his bedroom. His eyes were closed, and this time Grandma Cobb spoke to Grandpa Cobb. “We are all here, George. We are okay and just want you to be okay too. Please remember us and come visit often. You go now. Your friends are waiting for you in heaven.” And shortly after, Grandpa Cobb died.
A few days had past, and back over the pasture, while Jooper was sitting in his nest, he heard something. He looked outside the nest but didn’t see anything. He flopped back into his nest and heard it again . . . “Let my wife know I am thinking of her, please.” Jooper’s feathers stood straight up on his back. He said out loud, “This is my magic calling! I heard him!! George Cobb, sir, I hear you! I will let your wife know!”
Jooper told his Mommy that the magic was calling and that he would be right back. She was proud of him for being so alert and picking up on the magic so quickly. Sometimes other birds are slower to learn and hear the signs.
Jooper flew out of the tree and let his magic lead him the way. He was excited because he knew Grandma Cobb wouldn’t be expecting him. He was thinking of what he wanted to do to “show” himself to her. Just as he got to Grandma Cobb’s house, he saw her outside in the back yard attending to her garden. Jooper saw tears running down her cheeks as she was watering the stunning rows of colorful flowers with her grandson’s watering can. Jooper thought for a moment and then he flew onto the top of the garbage can. He thought he picked an odd but great place to land, because today was Sunday, garbage day. Grandpa Cobb was always the one to take the garbage out. So Jooper thought that if he landed on the garbage can, his magic would mean even more to Grandma Cobb.
Grandma Cobb was finishing up her watering when she heard a distinctive calling. It was so pretty and splendid, so she followed the sound. Right there, on the corner of the garage, where her garbage can was sitting, she couldn’t believe her eyes. She saw the reddest cardinal ever. His callings had such melody to them. It sounded like a song. Just as she was about to turn back to her garden, she remembered something her grandson had told her, “Grandma Cobb, whenever you see a cardinal nearby, it means Grandpa Cobb is close and he’s thinking of you.”
Tears rolled down Grandma Cobb’s cheeks, but in a happy way. She looked at the cardinal again and smiled from ear to ear. She then looked up in the sky and said quietly, “Thank you George. I’m thinking and missing you too.”
Jooper was so happy that his first magical call went so well, and he was able to make Grandma Cobb smile. He flew back to his nest and saw Wade playing with a magic set.
“What are you doing Wade?” Jooper questioned him as he glided next to him.
“I’m learning my magic. I didn’t get any calls today and was hoping my cape, hat and wand would let me get a call quicker!”
Jooper just laughed at his buddy because he knew that it didn’t work that way. But he joined in on the fun anyways because he always loved to play ‘magic show’ with his best friend.
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