I mentioned that my mom has 4 older brothers. They’re crazy. They’re often insane. People have been known to shake their heads and walk away. Others stick around for the entertainment value. I grew up with my wacky zany uncles and their antics were just a way of life for me. The rule of thumb was to never take what they said seriously, even if it was something as simple as, “Ah-choo!”
Back in their childhood days, they had an aunt with an Amazon parrot named Polly. According to the folklore my uncles put forth, one of them wasn’t particularly nice to Polly. That is to say, he teased him fervently. Unmercifully. The way young boys can be known to do.
Not surprisingly, Polly learned to dislike children. I’m not sure if it was strictly one uncle’s fault or not, but what I do know is that parrots live a very long time and this particular one was very intelligent. After his aunt passed away, my now adult uncle inherited Polly.
I’m absolutely sure that Polly was a very good bird. My mom loved him. My grown uncles loved him, although I think Polly may have carried a grudge toward the uncle who teased him.
Polly did some really neat things. He could mimic the cry of a baby. He would use this cry if he felt he was in trouble or being treated unfairly. Whenever it was dinner time in my uncle’s house, you could often hear him say, “Polly want a crack-crack-craaaacker.”
Here’s the part where I have difficulty distinguishing between truth and non-truth. When it came to Polly, I had the fear of God put into me by my uncles. “Don’t go near his cage. He’ll bite your finger off. He killed a small dog once. His beak is razor sharp – it will cut you real good.”
I don’t know if the dog part is true, but I do know he really disliked children. And so between the combination of a grouchy bird and the things my uncles told me, I cultivated an unhealthy fear of birds. On the rare occasion I was around when Polly was out of his cage, I would experience anxiety like no other known to man. Especially when he would look at me with his little eyes and his feathers would fluff and he’d emit a low growl that sounded sort of like, “bruuuk.” At those moments I knew his little mind was wrapping itself around the fact that he was free and I was little and there was nothing between us.
I love my uncles (and my mom) with all my heart. But I’ll have to admit even as a child I was skeptical when they would tell me that all I had to do if Polly came after me was put down a broom handle and he would get on it so I could put him back in his cage.
Are you freaking kidding me? There wasn’t enough candy in town to bribe me into getting a broom’s length away from that bird. He was out to get me and chew my fingers off and that was that. So I did my very best to stay away from Polly.
Now that I’m all grown up I realize what a neat bird he really was. He was absolutely beautiful- this lime green and yellow combination that was really neat. I was fascinated how he could sound so much like a baby. And the way he would sit around and say “Polly. Polly. Polly” when he knew you were eating and not sharing with him. Even so, no matter how neat he was, I think I would still have a major panic attack if I ran into him today.
At one point in my late childhood my uncle and aunt couldn’t bring Polly with them to the current residence they were renting. I’m not sure if she volunteered or was asked to, but my mom said Polly could come and stay with us for a while. I firmly believe this is when he realized how massive my fear of him was and began to mess with me……..
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