I don’t know Jaybird Bronson. I’ve never met him. My sister, who has viewed him only once, alerted me to his existence. This middle-age man, according to legend, is a living reminder that things could always be worse. No matter what catastrophe befalls me, I feel better if I meditate on Jaybird.
I’ve been thinking about Jaybird Bronson a lot this summer.
When my minivan caught on fire, I envisioned poor old Jaybird Bronson driving his dune buggy through the streets of Tuscaloosa, Ala. When my minivan survived the conflagration, I clung to the image.
When my oldest son in his Isuzu collided with a deer the next rainy night, I told him how Jaybird can’t drive his dune buggy in the rain. Jaybird stays home at his mama’s house when it rains. When the boy then put a bag of road kill in my freezer, I consoled myself, assured that Jaybird would not be as thoughtful or thrifty.
When our family car hydroplaned across three lanes of traffic on I-75 South traffic, I grabbed the handle over my passenger door and said to the kids in the backseat, “Everyone hold on! This might be bad!” Then we slammed into the guard rail. If we were Jaybird, we wouldn’t have been out there on the interstate in that downpour. We would have been at home stealing money out of Mama Bird’s purse.
I labor to discern why the fates saw fit to spare my family from critical injury or death. I expect they set us aside for a wonderful, awe-inspiring purpose. Slapping us upside the guard rail like that got our attention. We are being molded for great things, readied to receive the revelation of the incredible plan for us. Until it unfolds, the fates have given me Jaybird to make me strong throughout my struggles.
As I understand it, Jaybird is an unemployed, homeless radio personality. The Catfish Country station manager moved him from mornings to afternoons to the curb. Mama Bronson kicked him out of her house for filching cash from her sock drawer. Last I heard, he’d lost the dune buggy. Now he pushes a lawnmower. Occasionally he gets a few bucks for cutting someone’s grass.
Wanting to fortify my arsenal of Jaybird-isms, I looked him up on Facebook. It turns out that he has an alter ego, Julia Robotz. I texted my sister to alert her to this new piece in the puzzling life of Jaybird Bronson. She responded, “That is really weird. But so is the fact that you are apparently trying to stalk Jaybird.”
She doesn’t understand that after everything I’ve been through this summer, Jaybird Bronson is my lifeline to feeling normal. Karma just keeps on dealing me jokers wild, and I keep on using Jaybird to trump them. Whatever goes wrong, as least it’s going better than his life.
Last week, as I drove my smoldering minivan along Highway 441 in north Georgia, a kitten with matted fur wobbled out of the tall weeds on the shoulder of the road. Faced with yet another tribulation, I concentrated hard on Jaybird Bronson, but I could still see the kitten. Compelled by survivor’s guilt, I rescued the horrid-smelling animal. On the two-hour trip home, the stench filled the corners of my car and the foul animal kept climbing in my purse. I felt as broken and naked as Jaybird.
It seems the Lord saved me from certain death on I-75 so I could save kittens on Highway 441. It seems that his plan is for me to be someone else’s Jaybird Bronson. Lord, I’m humbled.
(Lucy Adams is the author of Tuck Your Skirt in Your Panties and Run. She lives in Thomson. E-mail Lucy at firstname.lastname@example.org.)