You’ve seen my African Gray parrot-Waka.
We raised him from an egg. This is what he looked like. Feedings of white mush with eyedroppers and lots of mess. The youngest sprout is posing with the baby Waka. The birds on the wallpaper in the background look just like the baby bird! A foreshadowing, perhaps?
He grew up and got feathers. The sprouts put him in all kinds of strange positions. No self-respecting parrot should have to pose like this! For shame….would someone please cover this bird?
Waka has an amusing variety of phrases. As I sleepily shuffle to the kitchen for coffee, he greets me daily with a cheerful, “What are you doing?”. The clever Texan (not a parrot lover) thought it would be cute to teach a bird to say quack quack. Now Waka smartly remarks “Quack, Quack Wak-eee!” in the Texan’s voice. The bird fastidiously answers the phone and alerts us to visitors by exclaiming “Hello...hel-lo!“. He calls my sprouts and my deceased, beloved schnauzer by name. He can say, “Mom, mom” in the exact inflection and intonation of my oldest sprout. When hungry, he implores “Come here, come here!”….and his favorite food is pancakes with maple syrup.
Waka is an intriguing animal…he can whistle most of the Andy Griffith theme song, but he is not much of a singer. He doesn’t sing in the way one thinks of a canary singing. I suppose he might sing if I worked with him, but he is more enamored of whistles, clicks, and the inflection of speech. He enjoys music, but wouldn’t be classified as a songbird.
Not me…I love to sing! This was my thought today while sitting in my church choir. Church choir and I go WAY back, and I’ve sung in a choir since elementary school, I guess. I’m privileged to sing at local weddings and funerals and am continually astounded people ask me to share in momentous life events. I’ve even sung a little in the local theatre, but my most outstanding audience is my Mom’s retirement home (OK, maybe the local maximum security prison was the BEST audience, but I digress). They are loving, appreciative fans and we share lots of laughs, hugs and kisses. Here is one of my favorite friends…oh, what a dear! We sang a duet a few years back. Love the heck out of him.
The word grateful isn’t large or broad enough to describe how joyous singing makes me feel. I feel my most REAL self. Even blessed, maybe? I’m thankful to have something to sing ABOUT in this tumultuous world. Can’t describe myself as a good singer-what I lack in skill I make up for in enthusiasm. Randy might describe me as ‘pitchy’, dawg, but I’d like to continue singing a long time. I’ll sing in choir as long as I can limp into the choir loft. When too decrepit for that, I will annoyingly sing at church, at home, in the car and blare in the shower. I’ll be the flamboyant relative who loudly leads the group in bellowing Happy Birthday or the children in renditions of Frosty the Snowman. Maybe the bird will join in a verse or two! My sprouts and the Texan will have to shush me and flush red hot at my musical antics. Who could blame them? Some may suggest I ‘stuff a sock in it’ or ‘shut my pie-hole’. That’s fine….they are entitled. But these lyrics (of a folk tune) keep piercing the gray matter…..since love is Lord of heaven and earth, how can I keep from singing?
Sprouts…Texan…Waka…friends…..get exceedingly familiar with humiliation and embarrassment. This songbird will warble as long as she’s able.