Frequenting the local animal shelter where all of the homeless pets go for a stay in purgatory is never a good idea when you have compassionate children with you. A few years ago, we went there just to go hand out treats and visit with the dogs, cats and other critters.
We came home with a parrot.
Yep. Parrot. Just like in the pirate movies. A P-A-R-R-O-T.
His name was crackers. He was pretty. He was also a talker. He could say many phrases. Short ones, longer ones. He would sing. Copy advertisements on the telly. One time he had the “I’m lovin it” thing from McDonalds stuck in my head for two months.
All was well until my dad came over for the first time.
“What is that?” Dad asks.
“A parrot, Grandpa,” My oldest boy informs, then four.
“Where did you get it?” Dad asks.
“Animal shelter,” I say.
“Why?” Dad asks.
“Needed a home,” I say. “He’s really sweet and he can say all kinds of things,” I inform him.
Turns out I was right. At least about all the things he could say.
Dad looks at Crackers.
Crackers looks at dad.
Dad tilts head.
Parrot tilts head.
“It can talk?” dad asks, somewhat incredulously.
“Definitely,” I agree.
Parrot evaluates situation.
“What the fuck? Stop staring at me you bloody son of a bitch!” Says parrot.
Dad widens eyes in surprise. “Did he just?”
“Shut up cunt!” Parrot reinforces.
Dad balls up fists. Face turns red.
I try not to laugh and to remain stoic.
Dad says “Well the kids certainly shouldn’t be listening to that.”
“I’m sure it’s fine. The kids don’t pay any attention and the bird changes phrases all day long.”
Dad shakes his head and walks out of the room.
My youngest at the time, then three, looks up at grandpa and says “Bye-bye cunt!”
Bird looks at me, I look at bird.
Bird says “Crackers?”
Love stained glass memories.