Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Joe the Polly Parrot



This is Joe. He (or she...since no-one really knows) is 24 years old. My Grandmother bought him in Plano, TX a few weeks after her last 'Polly Parrot' flew out the kitchen window and managed to make it to a grouping of trees to fly away. (Caged birds don't have the endurance required for long distance flights.) Joe was only a baby, and didn't even have any feathers at the time that she brought him home. I've grown up with this bird. He's as much a part of my family as a favorite uncle would be, and certainly my Grandma's baby.

Unfortunately, we've had to place my Grandmother in a retirement community. Against my Fathers wishes..she doesn't want to be a burden. Even worse, she can't have pets. For the past several years this has been lurking in the shadows. We knew it was time for her to leave her large house, and be around people her age. Especially after she started having episodes of dementia...calling the exterminator because of spiders the size of dinner plates, and flying turtles who wanted to 'get her' while she watched television.

The community that my Grandmother chose doesn't allow pets. Even pets that have been with you for longer than some of your Grandchildren have been alive. So, Joe is coming to live with me. It's bittersweet, but I'm happy about it. I can remember being a little girl and knocking on my G-Ma's front door. I'd hear her call out, "Come in, Jack!" (My Daddy) and we'd all go inside to find my Grandmother out back in her garden, or doing laundry in the back of the house. Because she's always been his 'Mama' it's her voice that he's learned to imitate. And he does it with an uncanny likeness. He'll be watching television with my Dad and giggle in my Grandmothers voice and say, "Oh..That's too funny!" or, "Oh that makes me so proud!"
He loves to eat whatever we eat and will call out from his perch, "Hey! Is that good? Is it good? Hey! Hey! IS THAT GOOD???" And won't stop until you give him a bite and let him find out for himself.

All of my Grandparents are getting older, and it's heartbreaking to see their age showing and to hear of the weekly visits to the doctor, or see the bottles of pills lining my Poppy's shelves. Having Joe is like keeping a part of my Grandma next to me all the time. Regardless of what happens...I'll have her with me through Joe. And, my children will hopefully take him after me. At 25, he hasn't quite lived a quarter of his life span.
What a beautiful way for my Grandmother to always live on.

3 comments:

Washington Cowgirl said...

You're so nice to take care of Grandma's parrot. My g-ma has a couple of canarys that drive the whole family nuts. If anything ever happens to my g-ma, I'll just tell the family I found a great home for the canarys and ship them to you and Polly...

ladyfi said...

Love that parrot... Sorry to hear that your grandmother had to go into a home, but I know that my husband's grandmother really enjoyed it...

Washington Cowgirl said...

WE MISS YOU, WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN???!!!