He was also an avid hunter, trapper and guide. During one of his excursions, he had
acquired a nestling crow which he was determined to domesticate, much to the chagrin of my
The crow, which he named Dick, being naturally intelligent and opportunistic, gradually
developed a kinship with the old man; a loyalty unsurpassed by any dog or other interdependent species. In
effect, given its way, the crow would have been inseparable from the old man. However, my grandmother asserted
her right of peaceful domicile, and to preserve domestic tranquility the crow was confined to the back porch
whenever Joe was in residence.
Now Joe was shrewd trader in the manner of the times, and was not
averse to the occasional wager, particularly when the opportunity arose for fixing the odds himself. It
was, after all, a form of trading; a playing upon the same sense of avaricious hope essential in all forms of
barter. In that regard, Joe had one trick that not only proved lucrative from time to time, it never failed to
earn him the accolades we all inwardly or openly crave.
Prior to leaving for the gathering in the square, Joe would instruct my grandmother: "Let
Dick out a half hour after after I leave the house." No request pleased my grandmother more.
Joe would make his way slowly to the square, in plenty time to arrange the dodge, which
could only be accomplished if there was a stranger among the loungers on the benches; if not, nothing would be
out of the ordinary in the eyes of his confreres.
The old man would select his mark, and maneuver himself into a strategic position on the
appropriate bench, and wait.
When the half hour was up, my grandmother would release the crow, with good riddance. Dick
was also a pawn in the game, but one who participated eagerly. Having but one concern, finding the old
man. the crow would begin a long spiraling climb, rising high above the town, and
scanning the streets and avenues far below for his soul mate and benefactor. The longer it took him, the
higher he climbed until, finally, his keen eye would spot his quarry and he would begin his descent.
Regardless of the stranger's response -- for none of Joe's knowing cronies would take the
bait -- Joe would reply, "I've got fifty cents that says I can have that crow sitting on my foot inside of five
Of course, only a fool would pass up such rediculous odds, and the stranger, being the
freshest, least tarnished fool among them, the bet was promptly covered. "The man is crazy," the stranger would
affirm among the loungers.
Joe would then cup his hands to his mouth and give out with a series of the greatest blats
of nonsensical yodeling and caterwauling ever aimed skyward. None of this meant a thing to the crow, who, if he
hadn't already spotted the old man, used the familiar noise as a beacon on which to ascend, arrow straight,
toward Joe sitting cross-legged on the bench, and land on his foot. The stranger, dumbfounded by the
experience, would eventually mutter something to the effect that the show was worth five times the price of
Several people wrote to me describing the many wonderful and, often unusual, experiences resulting
from having a pet crow. Linda Goodin of Upper Clements, Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, tells the following
After moving from British Columbia in 1977 to a cabin in the
woods of Annapolis County, Nova Scotia, I often heard my husband, George, recalling boyhood memories of
his pet crow "Timmy". His tales of wonder and happiness together with his crow absolutely amazed both myself
and our then small son . . . we often talked about getting a baby crow to enjoy the experiences George had had
and the amazing relationship between country boy and crow!