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I cannot honestly say that there was ever a time that I went hungry when I lived in that orphanage in Jacksonville, Florida. I mean I wish there had been more to eat at times and there were times when my stomach sure growled a lot at nighttime.
One day, our Grade 2 class at Spring Park School was released early because of a fire drill. As I walked back to the orphanage about a block away from the school, I saw a woman standing on her front lawn eating a sandwich. I stopped and stood there looking at her.
"Can I help you?" she asked.
"Just looking at that sandwich," I replied.
"Would you like a sandwich?"
She walked back into her house and within a minute came back out holding a sandwich in her hand.
"Here," she said handing it to me.
I raised the sandwich to my mouth and took a bite. I could feel my eyes roll back in my head, as I tasted the wonderful treat.
"This is very good. What is it?" I asked.
"It is a meat sandwich."
"We don't get much meat at the Children's Home Orphanage," I said.
"If you ever get hungry for meat, you can come by here," she said as she walked back into her house and closed the door.
I slowly walked back to the orphanage eating the sandwich and making sure that my mouth was clean, so that no one would know I had eaten a meat thing.
The next day after school, I once again walked by her house to see if she was there. Sure enough, she saw me and invited me in to eat another meat sandwich. As I sat at her dining room table, I noticed that she had a large black bird locked in a cage at the far end of the room.
"Is that a big, black eagle bird?" I asked.
"No. That is a talking crow."
"Birds can't talk," I announced wrinkling up my forehead in amazement.
"Oh yes they can!" she advised.
“How can birds talk like human being people?”
"You just have to say the exact same things to them over and over and over every day. That is how they learn to talk," she explained.
Every day for almost for six months, I went by her house to eat a meat sandwich before returning to the orphanage. When I knocked on her door, she always said, "Just a moment. I am covering the bird cage."
All the times that I went there, I never did hear that bird speak a single word. When I asked her why the bird would never talk, she told me that birds would not speak when their cage was covered with a cloth.
One day I came by her house and knocked on her door, but no one answered. Slowly, I opened the door and called out to her. Again, no one answered. As I slowly walked into the kitchen, I saw a meat sandwich sitting on the table. Beside the sandwich was a note telling me that she could not be there, but I was to eat the sandwich and then lock her door when I left.
After I finished my sandwich, I put my plate in the sink and started toward the front door. As I turned around, I saw the covered birdcage in the living room. Slowly, I walked over to the cage and peeked underneath the cloth. Suddenly, the cloth fell from the cage and onto the floor. The large black bird started jumping all around the cage screaming at the top of its voice, "THERE'S THAT DAMN KID AGAIN! THERE'S THAT DAMN KID AGAIN!"
That scared the heck out of me. I grabbed the cloth off the floor, threw it back over the cage and ran out the front door. When I got outside, I looked all around really good, but I didn't see any “damn kid” anywhere.
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