The sun peeked over the trees and spread like butter across the horizon, while the morning fog melted away. Somewhere around a bend in the road, near the woods, a peculiar sound emerged from the blackberry bushes.

Sootie the crow looks over Peter Roper Sr.’s shoulder while hanging out with Benjamin, in cap, and Peter Roper Jr. Photo courtesy of Patrick Reagan

“Caw, caw, caw. ”

Peter Jr. and Benjamin were playing in the backyard when they heard a noise.

“Caw, caw, caw.”

Ben sprinted inside and yelled, “Dad, we found something in the backyard!”

Peter Sr. put his cup of tea down and went out back to investigate.

“Caw, caw, caw.” The noise grew louder.

A black puffball hopped into view.

“What do we have here?” Uncle Pete asked.

“I think it’s a baby crow. Must’ve fallen from its nest.”

They immediately started running around, scanning the treetops for a nest or a mother crow nearby, but could find nothing.

Uncle Pete scooped up the little bird with his hands and examined him. “This little guy looks hungry.”

“Ben, go get the turkey baster and Pete, go get some milk!”

The boys hustled into the kitchen. Pots and pans scattered across the floor.

“What’s going on here?” Aunt Reb asked.

“We’re looking for the turkey baster!”  Ben yelled.

“Here, is this what you’re looking for?” Aunt Reb smiled and handed him the turkey baster.

Peter Jr. grabbed the carton of milk and off they went.

They squirted milk into the crow’s mouth with the baster. He bobbed his head up and down. He was hungry for more.

“Easy, little guy!” Uncle Pete laughed.

Aunt Reb stepped outside to see what was going on.

“He reminds me of a couple people I know at the dinner table.” Aunt Reb laughed.

Suddenly, big blue eyes peered from around the corner as their big sister, Jennifer, went outside,

“That’s one dirty chick!” she laughed.

“He’s not a chick! He’s a crow!” Ben yelled.

“Well, you could’ve fooled me. He looks like he’s got soot all over him!”

“That’s it …  Sootie!  We’ll call him Sootie!” Uncle Pete said.

His thick mustache turned upward, and you could see a big smile underneath.

“Let’s make a nest!” the children said.

They scurried around the yard looking for soft bedding to put in an old cardboard box. Old leaves and grass became bedding. Sootie hopped in and instantly dozed off. ZZZZZZ …

“Can we keep him?” the children asked.

“Well, it looks like he’s already making himself at home,” Aunt Reb laughed. “I don’t see why not.”

At first, Sootie thought he was a dog – he followed Casey, the dog, around the yard until they taught him to fly. It didn’t take long before he got the hang of things. Sootie often accompanied Uncle Pete and Casey on their daily runs around the neighborhood. The real pet of the Roper family of West Falmouth, Sootie left a lasting impression back in the 1980s.

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