A couple of weeks ago we went out to Freer to celebrate my brother-in-law’s 92nd birthday.  It was a beautiful clear crisp day with just enough warmth to make you want to soak up the sun after being hunkered down at home.  Then we saw the vulture perched defiantly on a light pole as if waiting for something to die.  Yet to its right and just below was an equally defiant bird – a male cardinal resting on a dead limb.  Neither flew away as Husband took a photo.

The tranquil scene seemed to me a perfect relection of this time in the middle of a pandemic.  Yes, there is death and the threat of dying, but along side the darkness there is hope.  While a vulture conjures up thoughts of death and decay, the cardinal is seen by some as a sign of a departed loved one or at least a good omen or good luck.  My mother always told me to make a wish if I saw a cardinal.  That day I put two fingers to my lips, made a wish and blew it a kiss as my mother had taught me when I was a child at this same place.



  1. Sweet! I learned (back home in Texas also) to make a wish when I saw a “redbird.” I am not sure at what point I learned it had a name besides that, but had not heard of the blow a kiss. Nice story for today.

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    • So glad to know I am not the only one who was taught that! My mother was from deep East Texas and brought many of her sayings and traditions to South Texas when she married my father. I was also taught to cross my fingers when I passed a cemetery.

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  2. I never heard about the meaning of a cardinal’s appearance until I moved to Texas. For us, it was a white horse that demanded a response. If you saw one, you were to lick your thumb, swipe it across your palm, and then smack that same palm with your fist. It was called “stamping a white horse.” I’m not sure what the point was, but I still do it from time to time. I think it was meant to bring good luck. It certainly is true that these little gestures are wonderful links to earlier generations, and to our own past.

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    • “Stamping a white horse” is new to me. I love these gestures and sayings from the past too. So many will be lost unless they are written down. And I like that you still do the stamping sometimes! My mother had many sayings, gestures and superstitions. Thanks for sharing the stamping. Now I will probably do it when I see one – good luck can’t hurt!


  3. Thanks so much for this post, Jo! At a time when the vultures really seem to be circling (we are dealing with a few private family issues right now, in addition to the pandemic and social unrest), I needed to be reminded that there are still many, many Cardinals. I’m glad you made your wish…what a lovely thing for your mother to have taught you!

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    • Oh, don’t many of us feel the vultures are circling and waiting for us to die or give up! It was such a hopeful sign for me that day and so wonderful to be with family even if we took a risk to be together. It has been over 14 days and no one got sick so I guess we are ok for now! Wishing your family issues will be resolved satisfactorily. There is so much to deal with on many levels. Thanks for taking time to stop and visit! Look for the cardinals and ignore the vultures!

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  4. Hopeful words dear Jo Nell. I’ve been making wishes. Here it’s when you see a white horse make a wish, but do not speak it out loud. The farm down the road has a couple of white horses in their pasture. I have been making a great many wishes. XXX Virginia

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  5. Good for you, Virginia! We all need any kind of wishes and hope we can get. A blogger mentioned a white horse in a comment. It seems you licked you thumb, crossed your palm with it and hit the palm with the other fist. It was for good luck or something; she was from the Midwest, I think. Now I shall be making silent wishes when I see a white horse. With the cardinal you don’t speak the wish either. Thanks for sharing! All ok here. Sending love & hugs.


    • We occasionally have a cardinal in our back yard but it was special to see one out there as it reminded me of my mother who has been gone for years. Blowing a kiss and making a wish is rather silly, but the connection to the past was good that day. Thanks for the visit. Wishing you and yours good things!

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  6. Loved your Cardinal story. I never knew wishing upon a Cardinal was an old tradition. I’ve always heard that Cardinals are loved ones who have passed away.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that a Cardinal is a sign of a loved one who has passed is the most common association. My mother was from east Texas and brought many of her sayings and traditions to south Texas when she married my father. I should write some of them down as many of them were home remedies. Thanks for taking time to stop by and comment, Sonia. I still sometimes miss living in Freer. When my mother died in 1970 the kids and l lived with my father for two years before we moved to CC. Stay well!


  7. I missed this update Jo… Lovely image and what a special Big Birthday too, of your Brother-in-laws Birthday..
    Yes we live in the midst of Live and death every day.. The animal kingdom perhaps more aware than we are of living in the moment..
    Hope you are both well… Sending love and well wishes from across the Pond in the UK..
    Love Sue ❤

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love this thought! We have three or four cardinal families in the woods next door to our yard. The female comes, the male comes, then the little ones. then the next family takes their place. They are very well-mannered. I’m using each one to send a wish and prayer to my mom. xo

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