Keep 'em Flying

While everyone's getting excited at the hoopla surrounding the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue, I was tipped off by Bobby Vangieri about an article - The Birds - in a back issue describing a big homing pigeon race in Las Vegas.

Bobby lived a few blocks away from me when I was a kid in Belleville. His neighbor, little Anthony, had learned all he could about flying pigeons from my father. Then little Anthony got his own loft, and Bobby followed suit.

Bobby reminded me of what an amazing carpenter my dad was.

I was never one to step into my father's shoes when it came to being a carpenter or a pigeon flyer.

I mentioned our house filled with race trophies.
Atop our TV, the alarm clock
had a small bird on one side
and a larger bird on the other side
of the time display.
In my room, the AM clock radio
had one metal bird centered on top,
next to the brass plate.

- from Trophies
Eventually, the trophies migrated into the garage where dad built the new coop. Some kid from up the block asked my mom if he could have the old trophies. She said sure. And that was it for most of them.

Bobby says there aren't a whole lot of flyers around anymore.

It was a sport that saw its peak after WWII. In the 70s as the old vets lost steam the youngsters were diverted by TV and less wholesome sports. But if you read that Sports Illutrated article, you might see a new life in the sport.

Once upon a time, our neighbor, Barbara, got an A on her essay about my father's pigeons.

I barely wrote about the boids, seeing them as competition my entire life. They finally turn up in the eponymous A FATHER'S PLACE. Heck, we even put a couple of pigeons on the cover!

Similar to the characters in the Andy Capp comic, my dad had his pigeons and my mom had her Bingo! My friend, Gloria, calls us the Pigeon-Bingo Orphans.

Dad always knew I'd never be his flying partner. I told him so when I was very young. Precociously, I said, it takes you away from your family too much.

SHOOT THE BREEZE - a poem about pigeon flyers waiting for the birds on race day, and SIXTEEN INCHES ON CENTER - a poem about my lackluster carpentry work, are scheduled to appear in Rattlesnake Review #17 Rattlesnake Review, Poetry With Fangs, a print poetry journal.

SIXTEEN INCHES ON CENTER is a poetry collection in progress. May include Trophies, Shoot The Breeze and Sixteen Inches on Center. We'll see.

Running Pigeons

Uncle Tonoose on Homing Pigeons

How I Spent My Summer Vacation

Copyright © 2008 by Anthony Buccino, all rights reserved. Content may not be used for commercial purposes without written permission.

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