Transitions

Stella

Stella

“Miles? Miles, what’s happening? She’s evicting us! Didn’t you send that rent check?!??? I TOLD her the check was in the mail!

 

Oh dear….

 

Miles! MILES! Miles, She’s taking my swing, Miles! Not my swing! Miles, DO something!

 

Oh wait….my stars! Miles, sweetie, is this your idea of a surprise? This….this is a palace! Just look at  the square footage!

 

Ohhhhhh, but honey, how ever are we going to make the payments??? What about our future children’s college education??

 

:sigh: darling, you shouldn’t have! “

 

O.k., that’s the way I’d imagined it would be. But not my birds. Yesterday was moving day. Finally, my birdies have a proper flight cage, which every bird should have, in order that they can have the space to fly. A flight cage is a long, rectangular cage, a bit shorter and squat than the tall, narrower cages typically found in the average pet shop. I’ve been eagerly anticipating its arrival, so I could hear their little wings flapping.

 

Like most moves, it had its exasperations and tempers flared. Mostly the bird’s tempers. But it was hell on my part, catching those two. Finches are notoriously averse to handling. High strung creatures, they are. Especially my Stella. I’m not particularly crazy about handling birds, myself. Clinca the parakeet is growing on me in that regard though. So averse was I to the finch capture, that I started out just opening the release doors and joined them together, figuring that they’d know what to do. They just stared at each other and stood pat as my arms grew tired under the old cage’s weight.. Hmph.

 

So, sighing, I resigned myself to the task at hand. Miles—-I swear I’m not making this up—-had to have one last copulation in the old homestead as I turned to fetch the rubber gloves.

 

After all of that fumbling and twisting, not to mention too many false starts to mention, the two just stood upon their perches, motionless. The shock, probably. Stella froze, her tiny beak agape, which always happens when she’s stressed out. Like all moves, I swear this one is the last time.

 

They’re happily flying to their  heart’s content now, and singing. So it was worth it, of course. It’s a good cage. And conveniently enough, it can house more finches than the last cage.

 

 :Ahem to the happy couple:

Miles

Miles

 

Zebra finches are supposed to be the rabbits of the finch world. Only the males sing. And each, his own singular tune. My finches have apparently not gotten the memo regarding their breed’s fecundity. But not for Mile’s lack of trying. He’s always courting Stella; serenading her, grooming her feathers. It’s sweet.

 

I think Stella is young, which could be a contributing factor to the empty nest. She reminds me so much of my Grandma Leila. And likewise, Miles brings my Grandpa; her husband, to mind. Grandma Leila was a true lady; gentile to the end, inspite of marrying poor. She came from a very well to do family in Connecticut who, according to legend or speculation—I could never get the straight story and my Grandma revealed her background most sparingly…. I don’t know why—–lost their money in bad real estate deals. She was a good writer. And liked to spend most of her time as a young woman listening to trials in the court house in New Haven. It was a different New Haven then, she always reminded us.

 

She could not have merged her life with a more different personality in my grandfather, whom she met when he performed in a vaudeville show. An artist. Flamboyant. Liked to ride broncos in rodeos, because, well, he’d never done that before. Guitar strumming singer in a band who liked to emulate Gene Autry in bright cowboy silks. And, penniless. They went on to raise nine children.

 

I liked Grandma Leila all right, but she was a mystery to me. Difficult to get to know. She reminded me in her dotage of an Empress Dowager, with just a touch of snobbishness to her. Certain people (not my father) she deemed unworthy of her daughters were not allowed in the house, even in the cold of winter.They   were allowed only a spot in the front porch, and that’s where they sat. And waited. True.

 

I think as a writer, she enjoyed my stories in the hometown paper. But other than that, we had little in common. My general nature is  much more closely aligned with my grandfather. I even live not far from where he grew up, which is quite accidental and nothing I knew until recently. There was little that made me happier than being his shadow, whether in the garage with his pet racoons, or plucking strawberries with him in his garden, or at the P&C, even if he did embarrass me when he flirted with the deli girls.

 

He was charismatic. It was fun. He may have been perhaps tipsy from the brandy some or maybe even most of those times, as I came to understand later, but I was just a little kid along for the ride. No one could outshine him in the fun department. Aside from his appearance (either white splattered painter’s overalls, or a ratty Izod cardigan I suspect he never washed, by the smell of it), you’d have never known he was poor, because he was so happy and vibrant.

 

He was generous. He’d pass along food for people even less fortunate than he. He was an optimist. Born on the 13th, he considered that his lucky number. My mom always adds it to her lottery picks. It helped that he was born the day before Valentine’s day, which he always added, and, I’m sure, reminded his wife. Often, probably. One day, he took us all for a ride, and brought us to a house my family passed so many times before, on the way to get ice cream in another town in our station wagon. It was full of junked cars. And it belonged to my estranged grandfather, my father’s father. I’d never met him before. I met him only twice in my life. The second time would be at my father’s funeral. I’d often wondered why he did that. After my father died, he picked us up every morning and took us to school. I often kept him waiting with my dawdling. I wondered why he did that too. It was just who he was. 

 

He was quite simply, magic. In a grownup. Not an easy feat.

 

I look at Mile’s florid plumage and I can’t help but think of those fancy cowboy duds in my grandpa’s pictures. Mile’s is just an easy going bird, for a finch. He’ll make a fantastic papa, I’m sure. And the both of them will make beautiful birdies. If they do.

 

Let us hope.

 

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1 Response to “Transitions”


  1. 1 Puppycup August 9, 2008 at 7:24 pm

    Your birds are beautiful =)


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