Mr. Faigelbaum was packing his suitcase — the contents consisting mainly of bird-watching equipment — for yet another trip. Little Efraim Faigelbaum was not happy.
“Wanna go bye-bye wiv Daddy,” he requested, pulling at his father’s trousers.
“Sorry, little fella, this trip is not for kids,” responded Daddy briskly. “I’m off somewhere far away to do some important research. I’m sure you’ll have a nice time staying home with Mommy.”
Efraim usually liked following Mommy around the house. But not if Daddy was going off somewhere exciting. No siree!
He responded in the only way he knew how: by throwing himself on the floor, kicking and screaming. Waaaaaaaah! WAAAAAAAAH!
“Uh oh. Another tantrum,” sighed Mrs. Faigelbaum to herself. She tried to calm down the angry little boy, but it was no use. He was too busy flailing around to pay any attention.
“I don’t understand what all the fuss is about,” Mr. Faigelbaum protested. “Efraim can’t possibly come along on this trip. It’s to the middle of nowhere, for one thing.”
Mrs. Faigelbaum nodded.
“Yes, you told me you were going to some hot, dusty, forsaken place,” she replied. “I hope it won’t be too unpleasant.”
Mr. Faigelbaum shrugged.
“It’s the only way for me to check out the status of the spotted towhee bird species. According to my source in the environmental authority, that’s the only place in the country they are currently found, but there are rumors that they were wiped out in the wildfire that broke out there a few weeks ago. That would be terrible.”
“Mm-hmm.” Mrs. Faigelbaum nodded sympathetically, trying to look as though she knew what a spotted towhee was. “Um…can you tell me more about this bird?”
Mr. Faigelbaum was on a roll.
“Well, some experts place the towhee in the family Fringillidae,” he declaimed. “It’s got a black head, a white belly, and reddish-brown sides. The tail is noticeably long.”
Mrs. Faigelbaum tried to show enthusiasm as her husband continued. Neither of them noticed that Efraim had finally run out of steam and was sucking his thumb as he lay disconsolately on the floor.
Mr. Faigelbaum looked at his watch and realized how late it was.
“I’ve gotta get going,” he declared.
Efraim suddenly sat up.
“Daddy! Window,” he said, pointing behind him at the window to the garden.
Mr. Faigelbaum ignored him, making for the door.
“Window! Birdie!” Efraim called in a louder voice.
Mr. Faigelbaum just kept going.
(Excerpted from Mishpacha Jr., Issue 740)