Saturday, April 18, 2015
P is for PETS
I never lived in a real house until I was seventeen, the summer before my senior year in high school. We had always lived in apartments; at least, that’s all I remember. In Mobile and New Orleans, we lived in World War II four-apartment buildings, and when we moved to Pensacola, we lived in an apartment at the Pensacola Motor Lodges, where my worked because we couldn’t find a house and because she really needed a job while my dad got us on our feet with his new Auto-Lec Store. We even lived in a garage apartment in Pensacola for a while.
In none of those places could I have a pet. I wanted one so badly, especially a dog even though I was deathly afraid of them. Because the four-legged kind of pet wasn’t allowed, I had to be satisfied with goldfish and little turtles with painted pictures on their shells and parakeets. Before I got a parakeet, I used to walk around with the turtle on my shoulder, pretending that he was a bird.
Pete was my first parakeet. He was named for Pete Dean, whose parents lived across the hall from us in New Orleans. I don’t have specific memories of him except that he was that beautiful blue, with black spot under his beak and a beautiful black tail. I’m not even sure how long I had him, but I remember Joe, my second parakeet so very well.
He was the smartest parakeet in the world, I’m sure. He’d come to me when I called him when we were letting him fly around in the apartment. I believe he could have learned any words that we wanted to teach him. I can just see him in his cage with a little mirror, pecking away at it and saying, “Hello, pretty bird. Gimme a kiss.” And he’d light on my shoulder and say, “Hello, pretty girl!” Then he give kissy sounds. Daddy would take him to my bedroom in the morning on his finger and turn him loose. Joe would fly immediately to me, perch either on my shoulder or the headboard and say, “Wake up, pretty girl! Good morning, pretty girl!” He had a bit of a temper, though. There was a man who used to stay at the motel that my mother managed, and he sometimes imbibed a bit too much. One evening when he had had too much to drink, he went to Joe’s cage, which was sitting on a table in the lobby, and got to close to him, saying all sorts of stupid things to my smart little bird. Joe had had enough, opened that sharp beak, and took a piece out of the man’s lip. Such language you’ve never heard! I surely am glad that Joe didn’t learn those words
TO BE CONTINUED!!