Our Birdie's new Family just arrived in a bright red truck to carry him home.
They know his habits, his quirks, his menus, the name of his vet and all his little phrases and words. They have the battered old tough rawhide barbecue gloves which have transported his wicked talons in and out of the house for about five years, and they have our address, so, as DS said as they left, "They can send us a Christmas picture."
They loaded cages, food, dishes, toys, a big bucket of his favorite kinds of nuts and a baggie of fortune cookies, wrapped him gently in a big fluffy towel for safe transport, and drove away into the West, sunshine all the way. They were smiling with delight as they pulled out of the drive, her pretty red hair gleaming in the sun, and Richie's blue head leaned WAY back, looking up at the sky.
Neighbors waved from doors and porches as they left, and the parade from street to backyard will not be happening again this Summer---all the children stopping in to hang out with Rich as they passed on the sidewalk. Folks will ask about him for some time to come---the Mailfolk and the FedEx man and the UPS guy whose lap Rich filled with his own rattly food as the sweaty, tired guy sat for a moment with a glass of sweet tea while I signed the board. The little ones from the daycare down the street, a colorful link-chain of tiny folk, making us a stop on their daily outings, and the clients who drop off and pick up their machines and stop to pass the time of day.
The little wide-eyed wisp of a girl from across the street, whose grandmother walks her over every now and then, getting her out of that smoky house, and who has uttered only one word in the five years she's been coming here---Richie. And the little creatures whose meals were greatly enhanced by all his discards scattered in the grass---they'll surely wonder where he is. The bird's social calendar was WAY more filled than mine.
It's been a long, wearying day of mixed feelings and odd emotions. And if I didn't have a birthday party to go to, I think I'd go hide under the covers right now.