For the last five months Dorothy and I have sought refuge from the Coronavirus at Camp PawPaw. Camp PawPaw overlooks Tres Palacios Bay with a myriad of water fowl to entertain us from dawn until sunset each day. Some of the water creatures seem to perform the same way day after day. Others appear for a few weeks and will not be seen again for a while in observance of migratory habits rooted in ancient history.
One repeat performer is a beautiful Brown Pelican who lands nearly every day on the stair rail of Sissy Taylor’s pier a few houses down from us. The Pelican is an elder by human standards. He has an 18-inch-long bill and a large throat pouch. His head is white in front and dark brown in the back. This regal bird has silver-gray feathers that adorn the rest of his body.
Judging by his appearance our frequent Pelican visitor must be about 25-30 years old. Clearly near the end of his time on Earth.
Countless times Dorothy and I have wondered why the Pelican returns to this unlikely perch. All the other Pelicans sit on the ends of the neighboring barnacle encrusted navigation posts in the bay or lined up like a platoon of Army soldiers on the ends of the piers at the conclusion of their exhausting day dive bombing for fish in the bay. But not our Pelican. He is committed to always return to the same perch. But, why?
The mystery became clear a couple of weeks ago. Our friend, Sissy Taylor, explained it to us. Twenty years or so ago there lived in a neighboring house a Magnus Mertz. Known to everyone simply as Mertz. Each day Mertz cast for bait fish with his casting net. A Pelican landed near him. He stood there as if to ask Mertz to be served him a meal, his daily bread from man to a feathered friend. Mertz gave the Pelican part of his catch. After that first meeting, the Pelican and Mertz repeated that ritual nearly every day for the years which followed. They eventually, became such good friends Mertz named the Pelican George. Soon George was following Mertz into his garage to be hand-fed mullet and just hang out with him.
Mertz moved away from Palacios a few years later to live closer to his family. Relocating to be with family was a huge win for Mertz. But, it was a big loss for George.
So, even now, many years later and without receiving his daily bread and friendship from Mertz, George still returns. Still remembers. Still sits on his perch. To be at kind of holy place. A place that Dorothy and I witness and appreciate Mertz’ everlasting legacy of love to George. George officiates the sacred happening that we are fortunate to know and celebrate because we understand the mystery revealed to us by Sissy.
God has spoken to us in Scripture as to the legacy of love.
A good man leaves an inheritance to his children’s children.
We will not keep them from our children; we will tell the next generation about the Lord‘s power and his great deeds and the wonderful things he has done.
3 John 1:4
I could have no greater joy than to hear that my children are following the truth.
God, I thank You for the lesson in the everlasting legacy of love as represented by George, the Brown Pelican, on Tres Palacios Bay.
God, in prayer please guide, support and enable me to leave an everlasting legacy of love in my service to You and Your children.
God, when I have joined You in Heaven, please show to others on Earth the signs of my works in Your name as I have witnessed in watching the George, the Brown Pelican. Each day he pays homage to the blessings he received from his friend, the fisherman and the giver of daily bread that feeds George’s soul forever and ever. Amen.
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Jack H. Emmott is a Senior Counsel of Gray, Reed & McGraw, LLP, a 145-lawyer full-service firm in Houston, Dallas, and Waco, Texas, a Board-Certified Family Law and Master Credentialed Collaborative Law Professional Divorce Attorney, Mediator, Author, Entrepreneur and Inspirational Speaker. For more information about Jack or his latest book, Bending Angels: Living Messengers of God’s Love, go to the Bending Angel website.