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Monday, 18 February 2013
Presidents' Day - a crow story
Topic: Stories

Presidents' Day.

Cory Crow had heard that it was Presidents' Day. He'd seen and heard the people talking about Presidents' Day sales as they returned to their cars in the parking lot at one of the big huge stores in the little town. He had heard more about it from a radio playing in someone's car as they waited for their  family to return.  Cory saw that lots of people were out shopping. He'd seen  people going  to the car dealerships too. He wondered that they would go to buy cars on this day.

Cory heard from the radio that Presidents' Day mostly honored George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. Washington had been the first president of the United States, and  Lincoln, the 16th president.  Washington was born on February 22, 1732, and Lincoln on February 12, 1809. Their February birthdays used to be celebrated separately but now they were celebrated on the third Monday of February. It was a national holiday. Government offices, banks, post offices, and schools were closed. Many schools also had a winter vacation week during this time.

Cory had seen  portraits of these presidents on the people's money. Washington's face was on the old quarter coin and on one dollar bills. Lincoln's profile was on the penny and his face was on five dollar bills.

There were monuments and memorials of these presidents. A huge carving of their heads, along with two other presidents, was on a granite rock mountainside called Mount Rushmore. In Washington D.C. there was a large statue of Abraham Lincoln sitting in a throne like chair. They called this the Lincoln Memorial. The Washington Monument was a very tall obelisk. People came from all over the world to see these monuments.

There were also some well known paintings about Washington in the museums. Gilbert Stuart painted portraits in oil paints. Washington had commissioned Stuart to paint his portrait. Stuart did the painting but never delivered it to Washington. He kept the portrait so that he could paint copies of it to sell. Stuart realized that a lot of people would want a portrait of Washington, the first president of the United States. He painted many replica portraits from that first painting.

A painting by another artist shows Washington on his horse, in his role as the general who led the American colonies in the American Revolutionary War. A painting by Emanuel Leutze, Washington Crossing the Delaware, shows Washington as he led his troops in small boats over the Delaware River during a bitter winter storm.

Lincoln had led the country through the Civil War, a war that ended slavery in the United States. Photography was a new technology during that time. Civil War photographer Mathew Brady made many photographs of Lincoln.

Cory flew by the building with the big window where he'd seen people making art. It was a class at the library. One day a week there were kids with their parents who came to draw. He wondered if they would draw something for Presidents' Day. But the library was closed that day because of the holiday. Maybe they would have the art class the next day and draw  portraits of Presidents Washington and Lincoln. Cory wondered what such portraits might look like.

He saw a newspaper that had fallen out of a trash can. The page it was open to carried a large advertisement for a Presidents' Day Sale. It was illustrated with a pair of stark black and white silhouette pictures of both Washington and Lincoln.

Cory got an idea. He could pluck out some of his own little black feathers and arrange them to look like that picture. He tried to do this in the snow, but the wind kept blowing the feathers away. Next he gathered a pile of twigs and tried lining them up to make the shapes of the presidents' silhouettes. Yes, that was looking a bit like the portraits in the newspaper. The wind soon blew the twigs away, but Cory felt very pleased with himself and his art experiment.

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 8:51 PM EST
Updated: Monday, 18 February 2013 9:17 PM EST
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Saturday, 16 February 2013
Dancing - a Crow story
Topic: Stories


Cory Crow wanted to make up a dance. He'd seen people inside of a big room in one of the buildings around town, and stayed to watch them from his perch in a tree  outside the window. They would gather at a certain time in that room, play some music and start moving around keeping the same beat as the sounds that  Cory could hear.

They bounced up and down. They waved their arms in the air. They kicked their legs up high in front and in back of them. They raised their legs high first to one side then the other. They made tapping sounds with their feet - taps that were sometimes just like the music and sometimes weaving in and out  and around the music. They clicked their fingers. They clapped their hands. They swayed their hips from side to side and jiggled their fannies. They hopped up and down first on one foot then on the other. They rolled their heads around. They made their hair and their clothes swing to the  music too.

Sometimes they held hands and made  a big circle with each other. They made the circle turn in one direction and then go around in the other direction - like a big hoop or ring. They would walk slowly in the circle together and then they would run in the circle. They would make the circle get as small as they could by walking to the center and raising their arms. They would stamp their feet - stomp, stomp, stomp. They would jump all at the same time - boom boom boom. Cory could feel the air vibrate and see the windows shake when they did that - bam, bam, bam.

Sometimes they danced singly, and sometimes they paired up and danced as couples. They used different kinds of music for different dances. Cory did not have any music to dance to but perhaps he could try some dancing anyway. When the people stopped dancing and went home, he could hardly wait to get home to try dancing.

He went back to the yard where he usually gathered with his friends. No, he did not want to try dancing where the others could see him, not yet. Cory found a big flat rooftop, an old abandonned  building, where he could try his dancing without being afraid of  others watching him and laughing at him yet.

He jumped around in a circle. He spread his wings and hopped around with them open. He flapped his wings slowly as he hopped up and around. He bobbed his head up and down and weaved it from side to side. He dipped his beak to the ground with his head turned a bit. He jumped forward and backward. He was having a good time dancing.

He looked up. There was Camilla Crow on the rooftop wall sitting very still and watching him. For a moment Cory felt foolish. But then he puffed up his feathers, especially around his head, neck, and chest. Camilla flew over to him to watch close up. Cory started  his dancing again. She stayed to watch. Cory danced in front of Camilla and then around her. She was enjoying his dance. She bobbed her head a little bit from side to side, in admiration and appreciation.

Cory stopped to rest from his dance. Without a word, Cory and Camilla flew off together to see what food they might find at the beach or the park

Posted by Catinka Knoth at 1:39 PM EST
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