As I was setting the table, I caught a hovering out of the corner of my eye. I looked up must in time to see a male Ruby-Throated Hummingbird at the window feeder before he saw me and sped off. We barely had time to exchange a greeting. I'm not even sure he got a drink.
Salutations of the evening, Madame.
Good evening. I thought you might be my lady hummingbird, Ethel Merman.
Ah, yes, Ethel Merman. I remember her well. Many's the sunset we shared on the coast of Costa Rica in the springtime of our youth. Ah, yes: she could hit dead center of an hibiscus flower from 50 yards, with her eyes closed and a rose in her beak, yes, indeed. Those were golden days, yes.
Your voice sounds very familiar to me. Have we met?
My dear, that incalculable pleasure has not been mine until this moment we now hold in our hands. Fields is the name, nectar is my game.
W. C. Fields?
The very same, at your service.
Oh, my! Pleased to meet you.
Enchanted as well, my little chickadee. Ah, yes, Ethel Merman. She had a temper on occasion, I seem to recall. Yes -- I remember one sultry afternoon upon which she chased me for over a mile until I took refuge in the algae-coated fur of a sleeping sloth in the branches of a mango tree.
Yes, she chases other hummingbirds away.
Ah, yes. And now I take my leave, my little chickadee, and if you see Miss Merman, I'll be greatly indebted to you if you do not mention my appearance in your garden. I am not the bird I was; I fear I will be unable to escape the pointed fury of her beak a second time. Let it be a memory sacred between us, my dear, a private treasure upon which we may gaze from time to time, as we recall days gone by.
Um, okay, Mr. Fields. And, like that, he was gone.
I cleaned all the feeders and refilled them. Because, when W. C. Fields has arrived, can Ethel Merman be far behind?