One incentive to get up and about that Chris cannot resist is an empty bird feeder. He feels about those birds like he feels about his children.
Here comes Scout, he says, as a lone little bird perches on the cedar bird feeder. ‘Scout’ flits to one side, then the other. Finding both empty, he cocks his head and looks straight at us.
We are sitting in the living room, Chris in his wing back chair, me on the sofa, observing this ritual through sliding glass doors.
Now he’s upset, Chris says. And indeed, the bird pecks at the empty wooden floor of the bird house then turns to look at us again as if to say, Where’s my dinner?
When neither of us gets up, Scout pecks once more at the barren floor and then flies away in disgust.
I make no motion to get up and go to the bag of birdseed.
He’s telling the guys back home, forget it, they’re deadbeats, Chris says. I chuckle and nod agreement. A few minutes go by.
I guess we need to fill it up before he comes back or he’ll really be upset, Chris hints.
I guess so. I curl my legs under me on the sofa.
Finally Chris gets up, grunting and helping himself with the arms of his chair and his cane. Unsteadily he makes his way to the bag of feed in the corner by the door. He opens the door and manoeuvres clumsily through to the patio, then balancing himself without his cane, he lifts the roof of the birdhouse and pours in the seed. It takes two trips before he is satisfied they will have enough for awhile.
By the time he returns the cup to the bag of seed for the last time, he is perspiring and leaning heavily on his cane.
Do you want to lie down now? I ask, rising.
No. I want to wait and see if those little beggars come back, he says grinning. I help him sit.
Was it mean to make him do that? I don’t know. How can I know?
Was it harmful or dangerous for him to do that? Again, I don’t know.
What I do know is that sitting for hours on end, lying in bed most of the day, is not good for the circulation.
And the doctor says, he needs to exercise. And I have a feeling Scout would second that notion.