Growing up, the Reid family loved to go to Jackson and to the mall, and we did so every few months. It was always a big deal, and we always loved it. Christopher and I never tired of hanging out at the mall, and I never tired of the Piled High Oreo Yogurt Pie from Chili's. Dad always made the same wrong decision (and had the same subsequent frustrated exclamations) on County Line Road, we always parked in the same lot at the mall each time we visited, and we developed bits that would be repeated and repeated throughout our lives ("One of these days, this will ALL be yours! Da da da da, da da da da, da da da da da da! Woo!")
One time, when Christopher and I were teenagers, as we arrived in the parking lot of Northpark Mall, Dad FREAKED OUT EXCITED. He pointed and started exclaiming "CEDAR WAXWING! CEDAR WAXWING! CEDAR WAXWING!" We were puzzled. He explained that they were a kind of bird that he loved and that always made him so happy to see. A tree on the premises was FULL of them. They were chattering away, doing a good job of being birds. We, of course, teased him, and subsequently made fun of him every time after that when we went to the mall. We're Reids. It's what we do.
When we were all in Vicksburg this past February for Mom's birthday and to bid Memaw and Papaw Reid's house goodbye, Susan gave us some papers and things of Dad's. Among them, was an elementary school report that included essays and drawings of different birds. Flipping through, Christopher found the best thing--Dad's report and a drawing of the Cedar Waxwing.
It was such a special moment. It all clicked--Dad had loved them since he was in about 2nd grade or so. We were so touched. I took the report home with me. (I do not have a picture here because it might take a little while to locate the report, and I am choosing to not let perfect be the enemy of the good.)
A few years ago, Fuzzy made a comment about how I should get a frog or a turtle ornament each year for the tree in memory of Dad, or that I should keep buying him trinkets like I used to. Since we went to the Christkindlmarket on the anniversary of his death, this would have been the ideal time, yet, looking at the frogs and turtles, nothing felt right. I already have a number of them on the tree, and nothing stood out to me. I decided not to make a purchase.
The wildlife ornament house is organized by species, so a little bit past the reptiles were the birds. I love the German glass bird ornaments--they are so ornate and colorful and have beautiful feathers. I stopped and had a thought--if they had a cedar waxwing ornament, I would buy it in a heartbeat. But surely they wouldn't--I pour over the ornaments each and every year, and most definitely would have purchased one in the past if I had seen one, so I knew it was a just a lofty thought.
And then I looked over and saw this:
I couldn't believe it. I still can't.
I think Dad put those there just for me.
So I could have my own moment of exclaiming "CEDAR WAXWING! CEDAR WAXWING!"