When Rosie lived on a farm in Oregon

And Jason was 8, Evan was 14, and Kate was 6

There was an old, unloaded .22 rifle in the front closet

That somebody might have fired at a rabid skunk crawling out from under a barn long ago.

For safety’s sake, Rosie had removed the bolt and hidden it in the bottom of the potato bin.

One day while she was fixing dinner, Jason started talking about blue jays.He said they were no good.

“They take over other birds’ nests and chase away the babies.

“They scare off the little songbirds and the butterflies.They steal and they squawk…”

Jason’s information campaign about blue jays continued for days.

And then Rosie discovered that the rifle bolt was no longer under the potatoes.

She didn’t know that on a day Jason had been sick and stayed home from school, he had found the bolt

And figured out how it fit into the rifle!

Then put it back in the potato bin —at the bottom.

“I know a way to get rid of those blue jays,” Jason announced one morning. “I could use that old .22.”

And he proudly got it out of the closet.

“There are no ‘bad birds,'” said Rosie. “Blue jays are beautiful and clever.

“They’re also friendly and stay close to people.

“So you probably could shoot one…

“But then how would you feel?”

Jason thought about it.

He tried to imagine it…

And then he put the old .22 back in the closet.

And the next thing he worked on was his bicycle.