What's that have to do with any of this? Well, I wrote the book and lyrics, but I am not real strong on writing notes on a staff that sound good, so I had a collaborator named Bob who could do that. He and I would work on the music together and for reasons I am not certain of myself, we did this composing in the bell tower of the George Washington Chapel in Valley Forge, Pennsylvania. (Pictured on the left.)
Now there was a little room up there with a piano and a lot of shadows you reached by a twisting stairwell, if I remember correctly. I don't recall any bats, unless you count us two batty guys plinking out show tunes on a dusty keyboard.
Man, sometimes I think I lived a rather weird life.
Nonetheless, I did experience those other things. We lived in a double-house or a semidetached or whatever you calls it nowadays in Drexel Hill. One days we heard some strange noises emanating from the basement. Going down to investigate something whipped on by and somewhere else an object fell with a metallic clang as things were knocked about by two squirrels showing their furry tails as their fleet fast feet carried them hither and yon about that cavern of a cellar.
I did not know how they got in and I did not know how to get them out. There was no door to the outside down there and I had no intention of luring them up the steps to the kitchen. They might have found the upper floor much more cozy than that dreary basement and moved in as permanent squatters. I had to hire an exterminator to extract the tree rats, for which the little beasts should be grateful. If they had remained where they were they might have well drowned, but that is another story.
Anyway, there was this bird in the laundry room of our Chalet apartment at Ski Mountain in South Jersey. I do not know how or why he was there. Perhaps he had clothes to wash. He was not a little bird. He (or she) was a big bird (not The Big Bird), just a big bird. He (or she or hesh) might have been a Mockingbird. It was certainly mocking me. I mean I was kind of scared of this thing with its long pointed beak and big flapping wings and sharp looking toenails.
The photo on the left is a rather poor one of said laundry room.
I seemed to be quite adept at chasing creatures into that closet. Once it was a mouse. "Oh, there's a mouse, there's a mouse. Get it, get it!" had screamed the Little Woman and it ran into that same closet and cowered in a corner. Now as I hovered over the quaking mouse, the Little Woman hovered over me saying, "Oh, he's so cute. Don't hurt him." I got a beer stein from a collection of these mugs that I had and captured the mouse within. Snapping the lid down on the stein, I toted the little fellow a couple blocks up the street and set him free. Let him invade some other Chalet dweller's closet.
However, this mutant bird wasn't cowering. He (or she or hesh) was glowering at the funny man in the hard hat. Now it swooped, I ducked and it disappeared out the bedroom door and down the hall. A moment later the little Woman was screaming in the living room.
I raised my trusty butterfly net and hurried forsooth to the rescue, finding the Little Woman crouching in terror upon the sofa as this bird made strafing runs back and forth across the room. Pausing, I remembered, and leaving my wife to perhaps a horrible fate, I hurried back to shut the bedroom door before erstwhile bird should decided to retreat there again. Now I scurried to the kitchen and slid open the back door leading to the balcony. I charged the bird, who then charged me and as I hit the deck, it swooped low then made a beeline out the kitchen door and was gone.
We seemed to have escaped these home invasions for many years, but then just a few ago I was sitting in the living room where we now live and saw the cats taking an unusual interest at a corner cabinet. What is this? They were scratching and staring and doing those funny moves cats do when stalking prey. Was there a mouse in the house?
Cats bounded off walls, between my legs, over the furniture and this tiny bird whizzed around and above my head. Now came the tricky part. How do I open the door and let this creature out without my cats escaping?
I didn't. The bird landed in a corner, perhaps exhausted by its predicament and I was able to scoop it up before any cat got to it. I carried it outside and set it loose.
And I hear some people think a pigeon in the garage is an ordeal.