A True Pigeon Fancier by Charles (Chuck) Stensrud

Posted by Dennis Kuhn on February 09, 2020 0 Comments
The orange numerals on my bedside clock displayed a bold 4:48 AM when I finally made the decision to crawl from beneath the covers this morning. I had been glancing at that clock off and on since I first looked at it and saw a glowing 3:26. For the past hour and twenty-two minutes I had been seeking the slumber that eluded me. Outside the snow was coming down. They were forecasting 6 to 12 inches of new snow for our during the early morning hours. I was scheduled to usher at church this morning, but concerned that I might not be able to make the eighteen mile drive to church. As I wrestled with my quest for sleep, there was something else occupying my thoughts. Those thoughts were much deeper and more serious that the thought that I would probably not make it to church because of the weather. Yesterday, as I sat quietly in the room with several dozen other Racing Pigeon fanciers, and watched the interaction of the people that were there, I could not help but reflect upon all of the faces I had met in the sport over the fifty plus years I had been in the sport that were not among the faces of the crowd. So many of them were gone now, resting quietly in their final resting places. They were gone, but not forgotten, their memories live on. Someday I too will join the ranks of those in their final resting places. It is a small brotherhood to which we Racing Pigeon folks belong and our ranks are thinning. Times are changing. The sport is changing. In some ways it is better, in others ways it is not. One thing that will remain to my end is my love for and devotion to my pigeons. Looking back over my 78 ¾ years of life, I have to admit that I have had an interest in them since I was a wee lad. They have captured me with their soft cooing, their devotion to their mates, and their drive to return home to their mate and family. I have had them come home with broken legs, gunshot wounds and hawk inflicted injuries. Yet, in spite of such, they make it home. There is a feeling I cannot explain each time I pick up and hold an awesome pigeon. It is a mixture of awe and admiration. Perhaps even satisfaction if it is a bird that I have bred and raised. The sight of them returning from a long race, first a small spec high in the sky, then watching that spec grow larger and larger as they fold their wings and dive for the landing board, is a heartwarming experience. Only a fellow pigeon racer can understand the feeling. Outside the snow is still coming down. When it is over, I will go clean the driveway and get back to the daily routine. My thoughts will be occupied with other concerns. The events and experiences of yesterday will fade in my memory. In my loft, breeders will be laying eggs, and in the weeks ahead, new babies will hatch, more races will be flown, and time will march on. New pigeons will be raised to replace the old and new faces will join the sport. I hope that there will always be such a brotherhood. Chuck

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