Tag Archives: Mike Hays

At Grandpa’s Bird Feeder

This is one of the first stories for kids  I ever wrote. I found it recently cleaning through some old files. It’s probably from around 1991 or so, and believe it or not, it is one of those almost true stories. 

At Grandpa’s house, we used to throw stale crumbs to the birds in the front yard. The birds would eat the crumbs and fly away. But not anymore.

Since we bought Grandpa a bird feeder, the birds stay around all day. He tied the bird feeder to a branch of his oak tree and filled it with wild birdseed. When the birds land on the feeder, it rocks back and forth like a swing.

At Grandpa’s house, we used to watch television or play video games all day long. But not anymore.

Now we kneel on the sofa and watch the bird feeder from the picture window. There are robins and blackbirds and bluebirds and blue jays and cardinals and doves. Boy, there’s a lot of action at Grandpa’s bird feeder!

At Grandpa’s house,we used to run in and out of the house, make lots of noise, and bother Grandma as she tried to do her chores. But not anymore.

Now we follow Grandpa around and help him fill the bird feeder with wild birdseed. Sometimes, Grandpa gets mad at the blackbirds and yells,”Those darn blackbirds, they’re eatin’ me out of house and home!”
We all laugh when Grandpa yells at the blackbirds, even though Grandma says swearing at birds is not in the least bit funny.

At Grandpa’s house,we used to have wrestling matches and sometimes thing accidentally broke. Grandma would get VERY upset when her things broke! But not anymore.

Now we spend most of our time watching the bird feeder and playing games to see who can name the birds the fastest or count the most of each kind. It’s even better than wrestling, Grandma says.

At Grandpa’s house, we used to listen to Grandma’s stories about her bridge club, her bowling league, or how beautiful the neighbor’s third cousin’s sister’s wedding was. But not anymore.

Now she tells exciting stories about happenings at the bird feeder.”Kids, these two sparrows were on the bird feeder using their beaks to knock seeds to the ground and there were all these birds on the ground munching seeds! You could barely see any grass! Oh my! You should have been here to see it!”
(Since we bought the bird feeder, Grandma’s stories are much more interesting.)

At Grandpa’s house, we used to see very few animals when we visited because they live in the city. But not anymore.

Now we see hundreds of birds flying around the bird feeder, eating seeds, or sitting on branches.We also see squirrels and rabbits and cats and dogs, it’s almost as fun as the zoo!

At Grandpa’s house, we used to wonder where the birds would go when they left the yard. There weren’t any birdhouses or bird nests in Grandpa’s tree or in any other trees in the neighborhood. But not anymore.

Now we build our own birdhouses from a set of plans Grandpa found at the garden shop.We went to the lumberyard to buy the wood. Grandpa cut out the pieces for the birdhouses then we glued them together and painted them. Now, almost every tree in Grandpa’s neighborhood has a birdhouse.

At Grandpa’s house, we used to mope around with long faces because we’d be bored and couldn’t find anything to do. But not anymore.

Now there’s always something to do…At Grandpa’s bird feeder!

At Grandpa’s Birdfeeder by Mike Hays, April 2012

What do you think? Is there any potential for this old story? If you liked it, leave a comment. If you didn’t, also feel free to leave a comment. 

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THE YOUNGER DAYS Book Release Giveaway

I wrote a book. Seriously, I did. It is a book for the upper middle grade (10-14 year old) boy crowd, but I think anyone can enjoy it. I know it may be a bit surprising to some of you, but it’s true. A bit of a shock similar to the time I gave a pre-game speech using Luke 11:23 as the theme, only to have just one player respond with, “Coach, you read the Bible?”

Yes, it is true. I read the Bible AND I write. I had an idea, I scribbled it down, it rattled around in my head for several  years then I wrote all 25,500 words down in just the right order. A series of rejections, followed by a series of fortunate events, finally landed a contract with MuseItUp Publishing, who released it as an ebook on March 9, 2012.

Now that the ebook is out, I have to also become a salesman. It is the way of modern publishing; part writer, part editor, part marketer, part sales. I am not a salesman. Sure, I want as many people to read the book as humanly possible, but I am not a salesman. Never have been. I hated going house to house hawking fund-raisers as a kid.  As a 13-year old, I refused to sell candy bars for the school’s summer baseball program. Wouldn’t do it. My coach that year was also in charge of the fundraising for the baseball program. He told me I HAD to sell candy bars or sit the bench. I refused. I sat the bench. I was a pretty good player, but I wouldn’t budge on my position. I sat the bench. I am not a good salesman.

I stunk at trying to sell our summer conditioning program to the kids. I couldn’t bring myself to Tony Little-ize a sales pitch to the kids. Fortunately Coach Lane stepped in and was able to convince kids to come, he sold it much better than I ever could have.  My part became to sell the results through action and work.  Show up, work hard and you will notice a difference in your body in two weeks.  Once they gave the program a chance, they liked the results and came back day after day.

So, here’s the sales pitch. Try the book, give it a chance and you (or young people you know) may like the results. And priced at $3.50, it is actually cheaper than one of those World’s Finest chocolate bars or boxes of pastel-colored, candy-coated almonds.

You can find the ebook at these places:

MuseItUp Publishing Bookstore

Amazon Bookstore

And here’s a giveaway of an ebook copy of THE YOUNGER DAYS. Leave a comment here or at my author page, to respond to the question below. A winner from the respondents will be randomly selected on April Fool’s Day, 2012.

Question: What was the worst, most hated, most despised thing you ever had to sell as a kid?

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