A "when you were younger" story from my mom, containing fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, and miracles. Well, maybe not all of those, but it also doesn't have chickens, which can make any story more exciting.

Little Meldon was nerdly and homeschooled; an early and voracious reader, and a spouter of trivia. My only substantial difference now is that I'm engaged and almost out of college, but that's beside the point. Anyway, one day when I was about six years old, I was sitting in the kitchen observing backyard birds through the picture window and announcing their names to no one in particular. "There's a crow, there's a robin, there's a sparrow, there's a cardinal, there's a mourning dove, there's a grackle..." Perhaps I had just finished a book on birdwatching, or had spent another afternoon flipping through the encyclopedia. In any case, my two-years-younger sister was watching. Though she couldn't read yet, she needed little time to observe this torrent of knowledge before deciding she was not to be outdone. Summoning her extensive knowledge of all things winged, she took a deep breath, pointed out the window, and yelled


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