‘Home, Tweet Home’ evokes gratitude for wonderful wife

COFFEE WITH WARREN, with Warren Harbeck
Cochrane Eagle, June 27, 2012

Our apple tree has served as “home, tweet home” for many birds, such as this cedar waxwing,  as well as a lair for prowling “puddy tats,”  as in these scenes from our bedroom window. Photos by Mary Anna Harbeck

Remember Tweety Bird and Sylvester? How about Tweety Bird’s signature expression, “I tawt I taw a puddy tat”?

And if you’re of that generation who thrilled to the golden age of movie theatre cartoons, do you recall that wonderful Warner Brothers Merrie Melodies short titled “Home, Tweet Home,” starring the canary named Tweety Bird and “dat puddy tat” Sylvester, voiced by Mel Blanc?

I do, and I thought I’d revisit that episode this week to launch a special year of celebration in my wife Mary Anna’s and my life together.

The Tweety Bird and Sylvester series of 48 shorts is based on a conniving cat’s obsession with catching and devouring his yellow-feathered prey, who always manages to outsmart him.

Things are no different in “Home, Tweet Home.” Without giving away too much of the plot – the cartoon’s available for viewing on YouTube – I will say that the story begins with Tweety bathing himself leisurely in a park birdbath while singing “I’m Looking Over a Four-leaf Clover.”

On a nearby park bench, however, things are in a darker mood. Sitting at the far end of the bench next to three old-timers engrossed in their newspapers, Sylvester has hidden himself behind a copy of a newspaper – not the Cochrane Eagle, by the way – with a pair of holes cut in it so he can spy on Tweety.

When Tweety is looking the other way, Sylvester slips off the bench, climbs up on the birdbath and, his drooling mouth wide open, is about to pounce on Tweety. Just then Tweety reaches behind himself to find a towel, grabs hold of Sylvester’s outstretched tongue, and begins to dry himself off, only to discover his surprised old foe is on the other end of the “towel.”

Thus begins another delightful seven minutes of tricks and chases at the end of which, predictably, Sylvester retreats in disgrace, while Tweety looks the epitome of innocence.

The interplay between cat and bird reminds me very much of photos Mary Anna has taken from our bedroom window. Migrating birds love visiting our backyard apple tree. But sometimes they’ve been eyed longingly by one of the neighbourhood cats.

Just a couple of weeks ago she turned her lens on a plump, happy cedar waxwing feasting among last year’s left-over apples. Haven’t seen a curious cat in our tree for some time, though.

All this brings me around to gratitude for my own “home, tweet home.” Like that waxwing, I’ve been kept happy and (probably too) plump by my wonderful, ever-loving, ever-caring wife who has been anything but a mischievous cat to me. And this has gone on for nearly 50 years!

Yes, this June 29 Mary Anna and I will begin our fiftieth year of marriage in anticipation of our golden anniversary in 2013. And what a pretty picture those years have been. I hope to reflect on highlights from our blessed life together from time to time in columns during the upcoming celebrative year.

For now, however, to borrow a phrase from Warner Brothers, “That’s all, folks!” Happy Anniversary, Mary Anna!

PS  No animal was harmed in the writing of this column.


© 2012 Warren Harbeck

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