Once upon a time a few years ago I went and visited my sister. My sister lives in a small town in a land far, far away. Ontario to be exact. She was a little under the weather at the time so I went to help out and visit with her.
At any given time her home is shelter to abandoned cats and birds. For many years she had Birdie and Olivia two cockatiels she inherited from a friend. This is how she keeps the cats from eating her birds. “Don’t eat my birds or your gone.” And this has worked beautifully.
On my last visit I was quite horrified to see how Birdie had aged. He was mostly featherless with a large goiter on his shoulder. Bulging eyes.
So this is what happens: I was busy in the kitchen cooking away (while she bossed me around from the couch – don’t skimp on the salt – more butter – don’t forget the herbs – not too much, not too little!). Older sisters, as we all know, can’t relinquish their crowns, even if they have a raging fever. So dutifully, I listened – no more salt – no more butter I can’t stand it – and she won’t notice if I don’t put any herbs in at all!.
Pick him up!
Amidst my culinary drama, suddenly I look over and I see Birdie lying featherless and goiter-heavy on his back on the floor. So I call out to my sister “Oh no, Birdie is lying on the floor. What do I do?” “Pick him up.”she yelled from the couch. “Oh, ok.” I said.” With what?” “Your hands.” she answered. “What do you think, your teeth?”
Meanwhile back at the ranch
Meanwhile back at the ranch, my inner dialogue was going like this – She wants me to pick that bald obnoxious bird off the floor with my own two bare hands. NEVER. I can’t. I won’t. Those cats won’t kill him. If I wait long enough maybe she’ll get up off her sick bed and pick him up for me. They’re her birds and she is my older sister and therefore more capable and well, it’s just her job. What if I can’t do this? She’ll beat me with a stick. No wait, she’s never done that. She’ll want to beat me with a stick. She probably already does. Jeezus, what do I do? I can’t touch that thing. Where are the oven mitts?Oh wait. The spatula. That’s it. I’ll wash off this spatula and lift Birdie off the floor.
My sister leapt like Superwoman from the couch
No sooner had I grabbed the spatula and walked with boldness and extreme courage towards the ailing Birdie than I saw my sister leap from the couch in a single bound (not unlike Superman except in this case Superwoman) push past me in her narrow hallway and run and lift the ailing Birdie into her loving hands where she restored his dignity and showered him with loving kisses.
It was certainly one of those times where I was outside the moment. Birdie and my sister were suspended in a bubble of love – she kissing him -him looking lovingly into her eyes, his dignity (if not his feathers) restored.
She lovingly placed him back on his perch where he remained for a few more days until he passed away.
And that’s the story of Birdie – who almost got lifted up by a spatula by a heartless auntie but was instead rescued (as always) by my sister who’s heart and house is always open to abandoned critters.