The grackles flew into the oleander hedge every morning at sunrise and woke me with their raucous shrieks.
Betty, my neighbor, threatened to cut down the hedge. “I just hate all that squawking,” she said.
“Please, don’t cut the oleanders,” I replied.
One day I returned from work to find the hedge reduced to bare sticks jutting from the leaf-strewn earth. True to her threat, Betty had cut down the oleanders. Three days later, Betty died.
The oleanders have regrown now, but the grackles have not returned and I awaken to silence.
I miss the grackles more than I miss Betty.