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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Book Entry 30: 1959 Blue Boy and Honey


Art and Ruth Starn lived at the end of our road next to the Sante Fe Railroad.  Art was my Grandpa Albert's brother.  Grandpa Albert was my dad's dad.  Ruth had an outside aviary.  She loved her birds!  She had several hundred parakeets.  She let us pick a pair to bring home.  While we tried to pick the birds we wanted Uncle Art watched Aunt Ruth with a huge grin on his face.  She pointed out all the different colors and told why she thought some birds were better than others.  She showed me all the little houses Uncle Art had built.  She showed me nests full of eggs, baby parakeets and adult birds.
Finally Uncle Art laughed and asked her to let me pick two all by myself.  I picked two blue ones which we named Blue Boy and Honey which looked a lot like this photo.  Ruth made sure we had a "pair".  She taught me to tell the males from females.  The males have a dark stripe across the top of their beak.   I think mom enjoyed those birds as much, if not more than I did.  I would find her all the time with Blue Boy perched on her finger trying to get him to say something.  I think she finally did get him to say “Pretty Bird.” 
One day mom and I were playing with one of the parakeets on the front porch.  Without thinking I opened the screen door to go out.  In an instant our parakeet flew past my head and into the great outdoors.  I stopped in my tracks only long enough to look at mom’s face.  Her eyes were watching the bird as he flew about half way to the Magnolia tree in our front yard at which point he turned and flew a straight line back into the screened porch where I hadn’t even had a chance to close the door. 
Mom said that was a good lesson for the bird and for me.  She then told me the saying about “The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence,” and explained to me what it meant.  We had a good laugh about that.
           Dad built a little bird house out of some match boxes.  He put a little hole for a door and wired it to the inside of our birdcage.  Our parakeets laid several batches of eggs.  Mom always got excited thinking the eggs might hatch.  She’d count the days waiting and watching but we never did have one hatch. 
One morning mom was sitting at the kitchen table drinking her coffee while I was eating my cereal.  She had let Blue Boy loose in the house, which I still can’t believe she’d do, and he flew straight into her cup of coffee.  She scooped him up and ran to the kitchen sink.    Gently she held the little guy under cool running water.  Dad put some blue salve on Blue Boy's tiny legs and feet.  It was the same thing he'd put on the chickens when they'd peck one another.  Dad said since they were also birds it probably couldn't hurt. 
Blue Boy lost most of his feathers and his legs peeled.  He looked naked like when we plucked our chickens.  It took a long time for his legs to heal and his feathers to grow back!  He was hilarious to watch around Honey.  It was as if he was embarrassed.  I think mom felt guilty about the little guy getting into her coffee.  She took vigilant care of him and after a long while he regained his feathers and his dignity!

2 comments:

  1. How interesting...loved this story. Ouch...in the coffee...goodness.

    My grandmother Priscilla, (my dad's mom) had blue parakeets ~How funny one of her's name was blue boy, and he would sit on her shoulder, and she was smack her lips and say "Give me sweet sugar" ~ I don't know how long she did this, but I sure remember him saying back to her "sweet sugar" just as plain as day!!

    You stories trigger so many of my own memories.

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  2. Like Wanda, your entries trigger things in me too. I had a parakeet when I was 8 or 9 years old. His name was Perry Keet.
    A truly dumb bird but he did keep me company.
    Great chapters in your book.

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