Ellington: What does it mean to see a white dove?
Arletta: Why would it mean anything other than seeing a white dove?
Ellington: In popular belief, birds sometimes have a spiritual meaning. For example, I once heard that if a bird enters your house, it means someone in the house will die.
Arletta: Yes, I know. And in the song La Paloma, the white dove is the soul of the seaman who visits the lover after he’s been shipwrecked and he has drowned in the sea.
Ellington: I do not believe in spiritualism, that is, that people’s souls live on after death so that they can visit one or so that one can speak with them.
Arletta: But have you never experienced such a thing?
Ellington: But, yes.
Arletta: And yet you do not believe it?
Ellington: I’ll tell you. It was an important and serious event in my life. My wife’s brother. It was sad. He died in a traffic accident. We went home to the mother and the dad. It was hard to imagine he was gone. My mother-in-law went out into the garden and sat there for a while. When she came in, she told us. A white dove came flying. It sat down on the grass near her feet. There it sat looking at her. Then it flew away. She said nothing more, but we understood that for her it was the soul of the dead son coming by to say goodbye.
Arletta: But Ellington, how can you say you do not believe in this?
Ellington: But I believe it. Of course I do.
Arletta: But now you are inconsistent!
Ellington: Inconsistent? Yes, I am.