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Whistlin’ Birds
By: Stephen Hollen

Back about 5 years ago my folks was gettin’ ready to celebrate their 50th anniversary. Now most years my Daddy got Mama the same thing for their anniversary - a big ol’ box of Brach’s Chocolate Covered Cherries. Actually, he did that for 49 years.

Now, I know women folks a lot better than my Daddy, so I knew Mama would be wantin’ more than candy for her anniversary. That’s not to say that Brach’s Chocolate Covered Cherries ain’t a good present, but that is just how Mama is.

I told Daddy the same thing and he asked me what to get her. I reminded him she was the type to a go to hintin’ for stuff if she wanted it. He just needed to listen. This was about February. Their Anniversary was June 26.

A few days later Daddy called to say that they was watchin’ that "Amazin’ Animal Show" and they was a man what lived on Oak Island, North Carolina what had a bird that could whistle the Andy of Mayberry Show theme song. Mama went on an’ on about that bird. Said it was the most amazin’ thing she had ever seen! Said that feller had himself somethin’ right there.

We had found what she was a hintin’ for! So, we looked an’ found a bird an’ bout it. We got a cage an’ ever’thing. Took it to my house an’ I started whistlin’ to it all the time the Andy of Mayberry Show theme’ it did’nt learn a lick of that song. I tried for weeks an’ got scared.

I called down to the Chamber of Commerce on Oak Island, North Carolina an’ got the phone number of that feller...seems he is famous in them parts. I called him up and told him, "feller, my Mamma is havin’ her 50th Anniversary an I got a bird to teach it to whistle the Andy of Mayberry song like yours’ it ain’t singin’ a lick. What should I do?"

He told me he would get a tape an’ record the song an’ play it over an’ over till the bird learned it good. Said repetition was what it needed. So I went over to the Radio Shack an’ got me a tape recorder an recorded the Andy of Mayberry theme song.

I played it day an’’ that bird wouldn’t whistle a lick o’ that song.

So I called him up an’ tol’ him it weren’t singin’ nothin’ yet. He tol’ me maybe the bird didn’t get the "subtle nuances" of the show. I ought to record the shows an’ let the bird watch ’em. So all my buddies taped them shows an’ I played them over an’ over an’ over for that bird.

An he didn’t learn to whistle one dang note of that dang song!

I called that feller up...a little sore at him an tol’ him the goin’ ons round my house. It was getting close to the time of my Mama’s anniversary. Only 8 weeks to go. He asked me if I rewarded the bird for singin’ an’ whistlin’ an’ I tol’ him no.

He said he had a bag o’ frozen peas an’ would thaw a little ol’ handful out and give that bird one at a time while he was a trainin’ it. Said he would squirt the insides of the pea right into it’s mouth.

So I bought me a 50 pound bag o’ frozen peas an’ fed that bird one after another. I thawed so many hands full of peas out under tap water that my hand got frostbite! It wrinkled up like an ol’ prune after a while!!!


So I called the feller on Oak Island up and told him I was worried. They was one month left. He suggested maybe my bird could learn from his bird to whistle the Andy of Mayberry theme song. Said I should bring it down to Oak Island, North Carolina for a’ I did just that.

Just a few days before my Mama’s Anniversary me an’ my brother Mike drove all 16 hours to Oak Island, North Carolina. We was all excited ’cause we had the expert a trainin’ Mama’s bird to whistle the Andy of Mayberry theme song.

We walked in the door an’ heard whistlin’ to beat the band. Lil brother Mike was so excited his tail started to a waggin’ till he remembered he wasn’t a dog! Them the feller walked out of a room an’ saw us.

He looked so sad as he told us he tried an’ tried to teach that bird the Andy of Mayberry theme song, but he couldn’t do it. We said much obliged an’ brother Mike went to get our bird. While he was gone that feller tol’ me something I didn’t know.

"Mr., I don’t know how to tell you somethin’" he said.

"Just spit ’er out"

"I just don’t know how to tell y’all"

"Jus tell us straight" I says.

"Well sir..."

"Yessir..." I says.

"Well sir, I don’t think chickens know how to whistle."

For Mama and Daddy’s 50th anniversary, Daddy got Mama 50 boxes of Brach’s Chocolate Covered’ we had the best chicken an’ dumplin’s ever!

Author Information:
Name: Stephen Hollen
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