Cynthia and I were heading down Richmond in an effort to get around some congestion on 59 headed back to the house. As we were driving past the Ragin Cajun we noticed the most enormous flock of pigeons in the parking out front of Jarinee’s Dressmaking & Alterations, which is in the same strip center.
We had to circle back and investigate.
There were hundreds and hundreds of them all in the parking lot. They were also lining the roof of the building.
Then this man came out of the building and they all took off…
The birds flew around in a few circles, but landed again pretty quickly and the man just walked amongst them…
He came over to me and we started talking. His name is Vichien and he’s been working at Jarinee’s Dressmaking & Alterations for over 22 years. He’s been feeding the pigeons for 10 years.
He expressed some sadness as he told me the property had recently been sold to developers and he worried about the fate of his “friends.” Vichien told me how he tried to watch over the pigeons and how much money he’s spent on feed over the years.
As we talked I saw a Red-tail Hawk circling above the parking lot. Vichien clapped his hands and the birds all flew into the sky. This caused the hawk to retreat a bit, but he stayed close. Vichien confided that he’s lost to the hawk on many occasions.
After we were done chatting he went to his truck and pulled out a bag of bird seed and began to pour it onto the pavement. That was a sight to see…
Before I left Vichien gave me a copy of last month’s Houston Press. He pointed out a picture of himself and said that the Houston Press was making fun of him. He just smiled. He asked if I could bring him a print of one of my pictures and I said I would bring one by when I had a chance.
All in all, it was an odd encounter, but it completely made my day.