In the past few years, my dad has picked up this marvelously random hobby of building and painting wooden birdhouses. Sometimes the houses come plain but pre-made, sometimes he buys a build-your-own-birdhouse kit, hell, sometimes he even makes them completely from scratch.
No matter where they initially come from, they all end up a mismatch of brightly painted lacquer, piling up steadily — to my mother’s dismay — on my parent’s kitchen table.
Naturally, the sheer number of birdhouses over the past number of years translates to mean basically everyone who has met my father now owns a birdhouse. Or seven. The problem of what to do with these burgeoning birdhouses has become somewhat of a dilemma for my dad. I mean, honestly, there are only so many birdhouses my grandma can have in her garden.
The solution? Well, time travel in reverse a bit for this:
A few years ago, back in the early days of birdhouse painting, I am visiting my parents one night and my dad and I go for a walk. During the walk my dad — who is in his sixties — starts bubbling over, asking me if I notice anything different about the neighborhood.
I cock an eyebrow in confusion.
“Does it seem more colorful?” He asks.
Eyebrow… Skeptical glance… Confusion…
Wait. An inkling.
“Dad,” I say tentatively, “Are you giving our neighbors birdhouses?”
“No, not reeeeaally…” He responds.
I look around… realize we’re on a block where we don’t actually know any of the residents. And then it hits me.
“Umm… are you putting birdhouses in people’s gardens anonymously???”
He giggles, actually giggles, in all his 60plus-year-old glory, “NOOOOoooo…. Well, maaaaaaayyyyybeeeee….”
I stare, incredulous.
Apparently, while walking to the store one night, he saw a house which had a decrepit birdhouse sitting in the front yard, and he decided to wander back a couple of hours later and tie one of his finished birdhouses on a tree branch right inside the fence.
And three months later it was still there. And he decided to find another worthy house. And another. And another.
And with that my 60plus-year-old father became a giggling neighborhood birdhouse fairy.
So what does this long back story have to do with the picture I uploaded above?
He is no longer content that his birdhouses sit in random people’s yards in Chicago. Now he is determined that the birdhouses shall “travel the world.”
And with that decree, I (and everyone else he meets) am tasked with the mission to take pictures of his birdhouses across the world, and leave them in deserving and fun places.
So with that, I end this installment of Pics for the Birdhouse Fairy.