by Kenneth C. Hoffman
There are many reasons why some couples decide to remain childless. Perhaps they feel that their lives are full enough without the responsibility of children or there may be a medical reason that decides for them. In any case, the addition of a small pet can supply a much needed focus for distraction. A pet is a friend without blame, a comic source of entertainment, and a receptacle for motherly (and fatherly) instincts.
One such couple bought a young yellow latino parakeet. Other than changing the automatic roller paper once a day, little Bully Bachman was no trouble at all and provided endless hours of comic antics. Learning early on to mimic the speech of his owners, Bully bird seemed to enjoy greeting his mistress with “Fat wifey, FAT WIFEY!” in the morning. This male taught greeting was followed by whistling Happy Birthday to You and tapping his foot in time. A favorite pastime was watching Bully play soccer with a tightly rolled up ball of foil. Bully would stalk around the cage, eyeing the ball, suddenly side kicking it toward a paper cup. Misses would be followed by a frantic whirlwind of kicking activity, his bowed legs working maniacally. A successful dunk was followed by a mad flapping of wings accompanied by screaming on the top of his avian lungs and performing a squat bob winner’s dance. At night he would declare, “It’s time to go to bed, good night, good night”.
I presented a similar parakeet to my mother on her sixtieth birthday. A recent separation from her marriage partner of thirty years left her moody and sad. This yellow bird was allowed to fly around the house, lighting on any head available. Some guests did not appreciate this feat and panicked at Tweetie’s dive bombing techniques. My mother explained that Tweety just liked hair and not to worry. Strict and clean to a fault, she, however, allowed Tweety to peck at the butter on the table, bite her nose, and lay on her back in her hand to be stroked. The therapeutic value of Tweety was not to be minimized. My mother soon became her cheerful self.
Now, parakeets can live quite a long time but are susceptible to various colds, mysterious ills and can die quite suddenly. Unfortunately, Bully Bachman’s master passed away first, leaving his wife with a pet parakeet that could mimic her deceased husband’s voice to a T. These eerie phrases were treated with a sad shake of the head and a sigh at the memories evoked. But the love she had for her little pet overcame any feelings of sadness.
A retired portrait photographer, I enjoy writing, bicycling and computer graphics.