Sunday, July 24, 2016
I've always had a great love for the Looney Tunes' character, Tweety Bird. So much so that my first pet was a beautiful yellow canary, a present from my grandmother when I was seven-years-old. I named her Queenie (because somehow "Tweety, Jr." or "Little Tweety" didn't seem to fit).
Queenie was a unique bird who loved football. Her cage was in close proximity to the television set and whenever a game was on she'd chirp happily. If we changed the channel, she squawked. She also liked to "swing" and "sing" to Frank Sinatra. When my father put a Frank Sinatra album on the stereo, Queenie would jump on her swing and tweet and peep to the beat.
When I got home from school each day, she would leap from her perch, clasp the cage bars, and put her head in the open space for a rub. While I patted her head, I would tell her about my day. Whether it was good, mediocre, or exceptionally crappy, Queenie was always ready to listen.
For most children, their pet -- be it dog, cat, canary or goldfish -- is their first best friend and confidant. Often, the relationship a child has with a pet is as significant -- if not more -- than that of any other family member. For a child, having a pet instills responsibility, commitment, and unconditional love.
We had Queenie for four years. I came home from school one day to find her listless, her "peep" more like a "croak." She wouldn't flutter around, but simply sat on the floor of her cage. My dad and I took her to a neighborhood vet who recommended that we just keep her quiet and warm. I don't think there was anything to do to help her, but the man felt he had to offer some suggestion to console an upset little girl (me!). Dad and I took Queenie home, covered her cage before bedtime as we always did, and the next morning when we removed the cover, she had passed away.
Dad took a shoe box, padded the inside with several layers of tissue, placed Queenie in the box, covered her up to her shoulders with an additional tissue, and secured the lid to the box. Since I had an aunt and uncle who had recently moved from Philly to New Jersey, Dad and I buried the box in their back yard.
To this day, whenever I hear the birds chirping outside my window, I think of Queenie -- especially if there's a football game on television.
Does anyone have a pet memory to share?
Have a good week, Everyone!
(photo c/o facebook.com/tweety)