‘Cardinal Charlie’: Cardinals can be confused with cedar waxwings

Published 10:32 pm Monday, January 17, 2011

Today I received my magazine Birds to Blooms, which is a thoughtful gift from my good friend and reader of my column, Chauncey Harrison.

gillHe knows I love to see the many pictures of my “namesake,” Cardinal.

In my thumbing through it, I spotted a page of a flock of 18 cedar waxwings sitting on a large birdbath.

I asked my wife to look at the picture and asked her if she remembered the flock that looked like the ones in the picture that had landed in the small Chinese elm I planted out in our front tree lawn.

Of course, this was years ago and we had just gone out the door to take our three-mile daily walk.

I asked Peg if she knew what kind of birds they were.

She said no, but they looked a little like female Cardinals to her.

We started our walk and got as far as Fern Reep’s house, so we stopped to tell her about the big flock and what they looked like.

Fern, being quite an authority on birds, with our giving her our description, said they are probably cedar waxwings and were probably after the little seeds off the tree.

She also told us it is rare to see these birds in town as they usually stay in the woods.

Here are some things I’ve found in some old Dowagiac papers that were given to me.

July 1945: Twenty-eight Cass County youths reported for duty in the armed forces Saturday and were sent off to Chicago in a baggage car, as there was no room on the train’s coaches.

The train was to hold 400 and when it got to Dowagiac there were 600 aboard.

Many civilian passengers and local folks seeing the boys off uttered angry protests.

Miss Helen Olejniczak, clerk of the local board, said she has notified the railroad of our 28 boys and their ordeal and in the future she wanted a charter bus for our boys and not a train ride (hooray for Helen).

June 9, 1964: Everyone was talking about the Dewey Lake monster, also known as the Sister Lakes monster.

There were seven sheriff’s cars attempting to keep control out there, as there were Chicago camera crews from ABC to film the monster, if caught (didn’t happen, did it?)

1968: Class of 1943 had their 25th class reunion at the Elks Temple.

The prize for having the oldest grandchild went to Marion Yaw Procter; the most recently married, Ed Fisher; with the “Man Who Has Everything” award going to Carson Minshall.

Gee, I remember the Minshalls lived at 409 Orchard St. when I lived at 501 Orchard across North Street from them.

We always called Carson Jr. “Cart.”

“Cardinal Charlie” Gill writes a nostalgic weekly column about growing up in the Grand Old City. E-mail him at cardinalcharlie@hotmail.com.