A Special Gift

On the wings of a dove...
On the wings of a dove...

They wanted to do something special for Alfred. They succeeded.

We wondered why our neighbors had turned around in our driveway the night before the Green Cake Party. Now we know that it was the last trial run–and the farthest from home in our direction–for their 24th white dove that they named “Alabama” in honor of my roots and would release as a tribute to Alfred’s upcoming milestone 95th birthday.

I have a series of shots (that the need to leave soon for jury duty will not allow me to produce this morning) that would make a nice matted and single-framed collection. The dove is captured at the edge of the cage, on our neighbor’s hand ready to fly away home, and at three points in the air within the frame as faces turn to follow it.

Thanks, neighbors, it was a moment to cherish and the pictures will always be special.

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. .

    Thank you Fred, for making me see how blessed we are to even be in this world, and to think, just 15 minutes ago, I was fussing about the rains on this majestic Mountain Top….

    Alfred is also blessed to have neighbors like you, and the other folks who showed up in your driveway that day…the things in life we take for granted…rain, sunshine, clouds, neighbors, friends, small towns, Godly churches, freedom of speech and freedom of the press, free elections, free to work, love, smiles, parents, children, food,water, climbing boots, dogs, (mans very best friend) mornings, sunsets highways crooked roads,dirt roads, old barns, tree houses, medical care, spring summer flowers, walks alone, mountains, trees, lawn mowers, chain saws, wood piles….and couldnt we go on and on ….

  2. Remarkable….Had to come over and get my Fred First Fix for the day…Always a treat to come here, makes one wish that Oregon were closer just to be able to visit….