Monday, May 23, 2011

The Parrot Who Played the Flute

A few months after DH and I were married, we acquired a baby Yellow-Naped Amazon named Lolita.

We named the baby bird after her mother, whom we had met when offspring Lolita was still in her shell. The breeder took us to see Lolita (the mom), and we watched as she made her way to her nest, put her head into the opening, and yelled, "Hello! Hello!" "We'll take one of those," we said.

We (mainly DH) finished hand-feeding her, and she grew from a scruffy baby bird into a beautiful green parrot with a patch of bright yellow on the back of her neck.

Pappy, who was maybe 9 or 10 at the time, taught her her first word one weekend; every time he walked by her, he said, "hello," and in two days, she was repeating the word. From there, she learned to whisper "good morning" when I uncovered her and "bye-bye" when we waved at her. She called all of us by name, sometimes repeatedly. "Don't you bite your mom," and "Don't you bite your dad," she warned–always good advice.

For many years she did flute arpeggios, but in the last few years she had stopped playing the flute. When DH played, however, she loved to get really, really close to the flute and the sheet music, posturing and flashing her eyes.

She loved spaghetti and pizza, and watching the fish in our koi pond. "Someone to Watch Over Me" was one of her favorite songs, for some reason.

She fancied herself an opera singer, but we told her not to give up her day job. A major music fan, Lolita always entertained DH's wind quintet by tuning up with them, laughing, and trying to accompany their music a la Kiri te Kanawa.

I have a heartwarming memory of Little Man, age 4, standing next to her cage, repeating, "Hello!" . . . life going full circle, and all that.

We had Lolita for about 21 years, but we suddenly lost her a couple of weeks ago. There was no warning, and she spent her last few days enjoying all the things she usually did.

It's always hard to say goodbye to a beloved pet, and doubly so when the pet used to talk to you all day.

I like to think she's at the Rainbow Bridge now, making beautiful music with George Gershwin.

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