Each morning and afternoon I walk down Broadway towards the sea. I am quick to offer up a friendly good morning and a tip of my hat to many of the folks passing by, most of the time I get a smile and a good morning in return.

Festooned with many cameras, one of them with a very large lens gets me noticed. Often people comment on me and my load, “nice cameras!” someone would exclaim as we pass in opposite directions. “Nice scenery” I throw over my shoulder. I love leaving them laughing.

I cross the bridge over the Necanicum River and spot a cormorant struggling with a good-sized bull fish. I swiftly raise my camera with the long lens, focus in on the unfolding drama and snap off 15 shots in quick succession.

I continue on Broadway towards it’s cul-de-sac terminus known by the locals as the Turnaround, I encounter Lucky, a red Queensland heeler and his human, Paul. Lucky perceives an eating opportunity and greets me enthusiastically. He knows that I have a stash of beef jerky in my pocket. I give him a big slab of the dried meat. He gobbles it down. My late wife Jackie would say no more dogs, no more husbands and not necessarily in that order. So, now I have to spoil other people’s dogs. When I lost my Jackie, so many people here were very kind to me. I have found a home in this pretty town by the side of the sea.

I have made many friends here in Seaside, most of them have four legs or feathers. Pressing on, I am followed by a contingent of crows. I leave bagel bits as I go and the crows grab them up as soon as they’re tossed. The sparrows see me coming, as well. A sparrow’s brain weighs about a gram and yet, these clever little critters recognize me and will flutter right in front of my face to announce their presence. They too get tiny bits of bagel. Nearing the Turnaround, I am spotted and a couple of gulls let loose with their feeding calls, alerting the other gulls to the presence of plentiful bagel bits. Soon the sky is full of hungry birds.

I play my harmonica some of them gather around and pretend to be music lovers but, I know they’re only interested in my bagel bits. When I’m done playing, I apologize to the people upon whom I have inflicted my tunes and explain to them that I can’t play my harmonica at home because my cat hates it. Some of the birds will light upon my head and gobble the bits I hand up to them. On a cold winter morning one of my regular gull-pals, Gracie, stopped taking the bagel bits and just stood there. I could feel her moving her feet back and forth on my head. It suddenly dawned on me that she was using the heat from my noggin to keep them warm. It’s great that after all these years, I have finally found my purpose in life.

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