HUMOR – Earlier this week the family gathered to celebrate my father’s birthday. As is tradition in the Kessler family – or a torturous game the impatient among us have to endure while waiting for the birthday cake – everyone from the oldest to youngest was put on the spot to share something they remembered or admired about the birthday boy.
When it came my time to share what I recalled most about my dear-old-dad, my mind flittered back to a time when I was a mere child living in American Fork, during the early 90s. During this time my folks and I moved into a new apartment that came with a detached garage. While going through the garage I found, and therefore inherited by default, a birdcage.
So, for my mother’s birthday – yes, it was supposedly a present for her – I went to the pet store nearby and bought a parakeet. Now, you may all marvel at my brilliance (that is, my abundant lack thereof), as I grabbed the birdcage and brought it outside to put the tiny bird inside of it.
Well, I got the bird into the cage with little problem and thought I had closed the door to the cage.
So, as I prepared to take the cage up the long stairway to the upstairs apartment where my family resided, I heard the birdcage door drop open and the sound of flapping wings. I turned just in time to see the parakeet fly past me in a yellow-green blur.
Somewhere in the background, I’m pretty sure I heard Andy Williams singing “Born Free” on someone’s nearby stereo.
Despite the loss of the bird, I was undaunted. I discovered what was wrong with the birdcage door and fixed it, and then went back to the pet shop and bought another parakeet.
This time the parakeet stayed in the cage, that is, until one fateful day it escaped and was flying all over the apartment and running into things like it was drunk.
I finally caught the bird, but while doing so may have hurt it in some unseen fashion – soon after I found said parakeet lying lifeless at the bottom of the cage.
So what did I do? I bought another parakeet, one that looked like the one that had tweeted its last tweet.
By this time I think my father was getting suspicious and I was starting to feel badly about not telling anyone about the passing of the bird. When I finally divulged the matter to my dad, he said those classic words that I think every child hears from his or her father at least once:
“Don’t tell your mother.”
Time passed and we moved into a house right behind the video store. This time the bird came with us, and shortly thereafter perished and was again replaced with a lookalike. At least this time my father was in on the charade. My mother was none the wiser. By this time I was also starting to question if I had a black thumb when it came to parakeets.
Well, time passed and we end up getting a pet cat – you can already see where this is going. The cat, a large male tabby we picked up off of death row from an area shelter, was an outdoor feline, but still got into the house every now and then. One time he made it into the basement where the parakeet (by this time I think it was Parakeet No. 4) resided and proceeded to hug the cage, freaking out the poor bird.
We caught Tabby (an original name, I know) and threw him out and the bird appeared safe. We’re not entirely sure what happened, but the bird died soon after. My dad and I theorized the encounter with Tabby the Great Hunter may have put too much strain on the bird’s system as it eventually perished.
Enter Parakeet No. 5. We had him for a while until he got sick and started wheezing. It wasn’t long before No. 5 joined his forerunners in the celestial aviaries of heaven.
Again, with my father’s help, we secretly acquired Parakeet No. 6. At the dinner table one night I recall my mother saying something about how the bird seemed to be doing better.
“Yep, he sure doesn’t wheeze like he used to,” my dad replied. I had to do my best not to start laughing.
Parakeet No. 6 proved to be the last bird involved in the parakeet saga. Shortly thereafter my family moved to St. George.
My mother never knew the truth about the succession of birds until years later.
Mori Kessler is the Assistant Editor of St. George News and an all around nice guy who should be given tacos and bacon. The opinions stated in this colemn are his and not representative of St. George News.
Email: [email protected]
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