My mother was a bird person. So are my two sisters, Jeanne and Martia. I’m not, unless you count dove hunting. The first bird in our family was a parakeet. Don’t remember what happened to it, but I don’t recall him being around very long. Then my mother got a dwarf parrot. It was green and only slightly larger than the parakeet. Don’t remember its name, so we will call it DP1 (Dwarf Parrot 1). It was followed by DP2, then a Myna Bird, then two large parrots, and eventually DP3. She had the big parrots when they were living in River Ridge, and these two birds did their level best to disassemble the house piece-by-piece biting off a chunk of wood at a time. Eventually, she got rid of them. It was either that or become homeless.
MB usually left early to make hospital visits, while my mother slept in a bit longer, a trait I inherited from her. She awoke one morning to find DP1, as the Monty Python Norwegian Blue Parrot skit said, “Decidedly deceased!”
There was no question he was dead. He was on his perch, in a manner of speaking. His little dwarf parrot feet were solidly clamped to the wooden dowel, but he wasn’t exactly standing on it. He was hanging upside down from it. He looked completely natural, except he was on the wrong side of the dowel.
Our resident coroner, my dad, pronounced the cause of death as a heart attack. This diagnosis came about after questioning my two sisters, who at the time, were about four and two. It seems they liked to see the little green parrot jump around when they poked a stick into his cage. That must have been “entertaining” until he went Tango Uniform (Google it).
DP2 replaced the deceased DP1 and soon became famous in Kenner, well, at least for a day, and he was probably talked about for a few weeks after. My mother often walked around the house with DP2 perched on her shoulder along with the attendant dwarf parrot poop dribbling down her back. She even went outside with the bird on her shoulder. She assured the rest of us, “Oh, he won’t fly away.”
He flew away.
I was summoned along with my friends to find and capture the wayward DP2. Do you have any idea how hard it is to see a green bird way up in a tree among green foliage? We did, however, find the bird, and what followed was the great dwarf parrot chase.
He flew from tree to tree, and we followed calling to it. Needless to say, the stupid bird completely ignored the stupid kids calling to it and flew to another tree.
Free at last!
Finally it settled in a tall pine tree on Williams Street. My mother decided she needed re-enforcements and called the Kenner Fire Department. Must have been a slow day for them, because they actually showed up.
With the introduction of the KFD’s really tall ladders, the great dwarf parrot chase grew more “high-tech” and even more interesting. KFD set up the ladder, a fireman climbed said ladder, said fireman reached for bird, and said bird promptly decamped to another tree. It was wash, rinse, and repeat as they worked their way down Williams Street. All this was very amusing to us kids, and we followed along watching the show—along with the rest of the neighborhood and more than a few driving by on Williams who pulled over to enjoy the proceedings. Soon the KFD had quite an audience, and for them, failure was not an option.
The bird eventually tired of the game and allowed himself to be captured by a fireman. I always wondered how the bird made it down that ladder alive after leading them on such a merry chase.
Too many witnesses?