Bob wasn’t the only one with a real gun in our neighborhood; our next-door neighbor had one as well. Jim Driscoll worked on his black 1932 Packard sedan whenever he wasn’t on the assembly line at the Ford plant. He loved that car more than his anything, and he kept it shined to a high-gloss finish. His garage was filled with tools for this hobby, so the car usually sat in the driveway.
Bob and I didn’t know that Mr. Driscoll owned a shotgun until the Great Pigeon War.
The spinsters on the other side of our house started the war, and our house was the battleground. The two Miss Smiths fed pigeons when they weren’t creating hats in their millinery store. The pigeons invited their friends and had baby pigeons … all of which nested in the eaves of our house. They also pooped all over our house. And our yard. And Mr. Driscoll’s yard including his shiny black Packard in the driveway.
This cranky old man’s other hobby was drinking. Bob and I laughed as we watched him try to shoot pigeons through his inebriated haze. The pigeons got the better of him every time and flew away unharmed. They left little white calling cards as they escaped.
Finally, the man got an idea that would level the playing field. Bob told me that he saw Mr. Driscoll pour whiskey into bowls of bird seed and put the dishes by his back fence. He waited until the birds were as drunk as he was, and then he took aim. Now that it was a fair fight, he actually hit a few birds!
The war raged on with neighbors on both sides of us feeding pigeons — two sober old ladies and one drunk car enthusiast. Dad finally declared our house a demilitarized zone by putting wire mesh around all of the eaves so that the birds couldn’t live there.
Bob was lucky that Mr. Driscoll never turned his shotgun on him for spying!
— Deborah Weir
After decades of writing and practicing in the financial world, Deborah Weir is now preserving memories of growing up in Ohio during the time Erma Bombeck wrote her columns about the foibles of family life.