The first time I saw him he had a paint brush in his hand working on the blonde’s kitchen. Saw him again the next day and still didn’t ask his name.
The third time I saw him he was standing in Jack’s parking lot on Quintard. He was in a painter’s white T-shirt and pants, had stopped for breakfast.
But before he fed himself, he had pigeons to feed. He does that most weekday mornings, flinging bread crumbs into the Verizon parking lot next door. Pigeons come by the dozen, fluttering to a “two-point” landing to peck, strut, and all but eat out of his hand.
I walked out to meet him, told him who I was, and he had been on Mike Snider’s painting crew that had painted our kitchen a month or so back.
He told me his name was Felix Padilla, but said he didn’t remember me, wasn’t sure he remembered being in my house.
“We paint a lot of houses.”
That’s when I asked Felix Padilla about the pigeons and did he do this every morning.
“Every morning, every morning.”
“I’m an Apache and we’re nature’s people. I go through at least three loaves of bread a day, feed the pigeons here, feed the squirrels in the park, doesn’t matter. I love animals. I’m an animal freak. Doesn’t matter, dog or bird or squirrel, whatever.
“I’ve been feeding the wild since I was a little kid. Even the baddest dog will come to me, doesn’t matter. They sense your aura and your soul. Animals can read you just as soon as you step into their world.
“Out west where Apaches lived, cowboys and other people would bring horses for us to break. We’d have them riding in an hour or so.
“Show a little respect, show a little love, give ’em a little space, then they come to you and show you love.”
One thing here is Padilla didn’t come from “out west.” He was born in Sidney, Neb. Lodgepole, a wide place in the road, was his childhood home.
“Hadn’t been for World War II, I’d probably be on the reservation. My grandfather was born on the reservation but, then went off to war. After the war he settled in Nebraska.
“Most of my family lives out in Utah now. My grandmother is out there. Believe it or not, Geronimo was a distant cousin.”
Geronimo spent most of his life fighting the “white man” and Padillo finds it a bit ironic that . ..
“They named the baddest helicopter in the world after us, the Apache.”
A graduate of Saks High School, hanging on to 12-inch blocks (one in each hand) figured into a paint brush in one hand.
“I’ve been painting since I was 20 years old. I was working on a masonry crew, toting 12-inch blocks and mixing mud. A fellow by the name of Randy Poppin was painting a house for Jack Cotton Realty.
“He and Jack were talking and one of his painters hadn’t shown up. Heaviest thing I’d ever seen a painter carry was a gallon of paint so I went up to Poppin and asked if he could use some help.
“He asked me if I could paint. I told him that I could do what he was doing. That’s where it started.”
“But what I really am is one of God’s people. I have faith in God and believe in Jesus.”
Somewhere in our visit, he left the bread crumbs with the pigeons and turned toward Jack’s with:
“I’m hooked on Mountain Dews and Dr. Peppers, which is not good. I’m getting fatter and fatter, uglier and uglier, and older and older.”
As he opened the door to Jack’s, I wondered if he would have a Dr. Pepper with his biscuit.
Thanks for visiting.
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Pigeon Patrol Products & Services is the leading manufacturer and distributor of bird deterrent (control) products in Canada. Pigeon Patrol products have solved pest bird problems in industrial, commercial, and residential settings since 2000, by using safe and humane bird deterrents with only bird and animal friendly solutions. At Pigeon Patrol, we manufacture and offer a variety of bird deterrents, ranging from Ultra-flex Bird Spikes with UV protection, Bird Netting, 4-S Gel and the best Ultrasonic and audible sound devices on the market today.
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