Posted by Tony & Cheri on April 2, 2007
Remember Walt Disney’s Dumbo? At the beginning, there is a stork in a messenger’s cap delivering a big linen bag to the circus. When he opens up the bag we see baby Dumbo. That is sort of what happened to us recently…kind of.
About a month ago Tony was working the night shift at the front desk. He was talking to some guests and giving them some restaurant suggestions when up pulls Officer Jorge. Officer Jorge is with the local police and has been very helpful with parking and other such problems around the hotel. Of course we have tried to show our “appreciation” as often as possible in the universally accepted method.
Tony knew Jorge was not here on official business for a couple of reasons. First, instead of his normal sparkling clean and sharp pressed uniform, he wore dirty shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt. Secondly instead of a police department Harley, he rode a beat up old motor scooter. Finally Tony knew he was not on duty because of the smell of tequila which preceded him by about ten feet.
“Hola,” he shouted as he staggered into the reception area. Tony excused himself from the guests for a moment and walked out from behind the desk to say hello when Jorge grabbed him in a bear hug and began to loudly proclaim his gratitude for our little gifts of appreciation. “You are mi amigo SIEMPRE!” he declared at the top of his lungs. Tequila and macho emotions can be a very volatile mixture. Tony gently pulled free and explained that he was with guests and that Jorge should just wait for un momento …quietly, por favor. Jorge nodded in agreement and stepped back, putting his finger to his lips and shushing himself as he stood wobbling from side to side.
After the guests had left Tony motioned for Jorge to join him. Jorge exploded into action again. “Mi amigo! My friend! Yo tengo un regalo para ti!” (I have a gift for you.) Tony assured him that no gift was necessary and he was glad they were such good friends. But Jorge was not to be dissuaded. A friendship such as theirs he said required that he give Tony a worthy gift. He insisted that they go out to his moto to get the gift. Tony followed, protesting that no gift was necessary. On the moto handle bars hung a plastic bag from Walmart. Jorge proudly took it off the bike and held it out to Tony. “For you.” When Tony hesitated, Jorge reached into the bag and pulled out…a parrot.
Tony tried to say no, explaining we already had two cats and an English Bulldog and we really couldn’t add a parrot to the mix, but Jorge was already talking about the benefits of parrot ownership. He will talk to you, Jorge explained in slurred Spanish. He held the frightened bird a few inches from his face and screamed “Hola” while releasing great clouds of Tequila laced breath into the air. Besides, he said (and now the truth came out) his wife said he had to get rid of it so would Tony please take the bird? Please? Half to help Jorge with his domestic problem and half to help save this poor creature from another ride with an intoxicated Jorge, Tony reluctantly said yes.
Jorge happily thrust the parrot back into the Walmart bag which he handed to Tony. “He likes to eat corn” Jorge yelled as he started up the moto and proceeded to weave down the street. The parrot went back into the office and was placed in a cage we use to trap feral cats (so we can take them to the vet and have them neutered). After a little water and some tortillas (which the bird devoured), it seemed fine. Tony covered the cage and went home wondering how he was going to explain to Cheri about their newest addition.
Cheri wasn’t too upset and agreed there wasn’t much choice in the matter. The next day we took the parrot, who we named Captain Jack Parrot (as opposed to Captain Jack Sparrow…we crack ourselves up sometimes), to Dr. Paco, the best vet in Mexico. He examined Captain Jack and explained first of all that Captain Jack was a girl and secondly she was pretty sick. Captain Jacqueline had a serious bronchial infection. She would live, but she need medicine and a lot of attention. Cap’n Jack was a White-Topped Amazon Parrot. She could live as long as 50 years and she was now our responsibility. “If you are good to this bird your grandchildren will play with it,” Paco said. We asked if after she was better she could be released into the wild. Paco said he doubted it. She was very young and would not have any experience in foraging food in the jungle. And he added that parrots were social animals living in flocks. No flock would accept a strange bird easily. We were her flock now.
So now Cap’n Jack lives with us. She has a gigantic wrought iron cage of many levels which sits under the palapa on our back patio. She is a delight to watch. She has beautiful green feathers with a red mask around her eyes, blue and white feathers above her eyes and red and blue wing feathers. She is fully recovered and has a big appetite. She loves tortillas (she is Mexican after all!) along with fruits, vegetables and best of all, corn kernels. We also have a perch inside the house near the desk and she often joins us while we work on the computer. Our cats are a couple of lazy old characters and seem to not be interested in our new family member at all. But we keep an eye on everyone when Jack is inside the house. Just in case.
Jack isn’t speaking yet. We have learned that she might be too young and will probably get more vocal as she gets a little older. We are trying to teach her to say “hola chica” but given the music we constantly play her first word will probably be “Margaritaville.” 🙂
Living the dream is…owning a parrot in paradise.