Reprinted from March 1995
It’s no secret that every normal woman looks forward to her anniversary with keen anticipation. Secretly, she longs for some goodie that she’s had her heart set on for some months. She has hinted strongly for this item, and she feels confident that hubby has taken her suggestions to heart and has purchased her dream item for her.
I suppose every other wife receives flowers, jewelry or furs for her anniversary. But not Martha. RB bought me a fat, green parrot. I’m probably the only wife in the entire world to receive such an anniversary present so I suppose it would be foolish to complain.
Right off RB named the parrot “Sabre.” (Because he thought that was pretty sharp).
We intended to leave him at the store. Sabre had other ideas however, and the very first night when the lights were cut off he began yelling: “Help, Help, Help!” Now you can readily understand why we couldn’t have that going on in the back room of a jewelry store after closing hours – so we took Sabre home.
The next morning we brought him back so we could try again. It was the same thing. After about a week he stopped yelling “Help!” and started saying: “Go.” Now, who could resist a plea like that? So he went.
Back and forth from home to the store. As he became more articulate he added: “Let’s go.” And then “Sabre wants to go.” We didn’t need a time clock to know exactly when quitting time was either. (Although daylight savings time prompted somewhat of a problem.)
Sabre became a legend around the store. Pretty soon folks would drop by just to hear him talk. With some coaching he learned: “Hello!” and finally, “Hello there, my name is Sabre. I am a watchmaker.”
If you don’t think it takes some explaining to a customer why some nut is sitting in the back room saying, “I am a watchmaker,” you’d best think again.
Finally, out of desperation, I started informing everyone: “That’s not a drunk watchmaker in the back room. It’s a green parrot.”
A lot of them drew back with an “I’ll bet” expression.
Our store is probably the only one in Texas which boasts a back room view of a swimming pool. One can (and usually does) look right out the back window to a full view of the diving board. Since the polishing machine is directly underneath the window, we seem to have the most lavishly polished jewelry in the state. RB or one of the fellows will stand there with a piece of jewelry on the polishing wheel, their eyes riveted on some beauty that is occupying the diving board.
One day, a slim innocent waif from the pool chanced to visit our humble store. She was clad only in the very briefest polka dot outfit – pink polka dots. The top was… well… it was… and the bottom was… errr… oh, well, never mind. You get the picture. She looked like if she made a sudden movement she’d throw the whole pattern out of kilter.
She sauntered around the place looking carefully inside the lowest show cases while RB about put his eyes out trying to maintain that two inch focus. Somehow about the time she bent over right in front of RB’s bench, that stupid bird let out a long wolf whistle and then added “Oh boy!”
Poor RB. He flushed beet red and the customer spun around and indicated she’d been insulted. (Heaven knows why.) She tossed her head high in the air and started to flounce out. But Martha came to the rescue.
“It wasn’t HIM!” I pleaded, “It was our bird!” She took a few more steps.
“Really, honest!” I pleaded.
Then the full impact of what I’d said dawned on her. She started laughing. She wanted to see the bird. (Perhaps she wondered if we really had a parrot.) So I invited her into to the back room. Wouldn’t you know? That stupid bird wouldn’t say another word while she was there! She probably still is harboring doubts about the origin of the wolf whistle.
After she left, RB told Sabre: “Stupid bird, you made a fool out of me. You can be made into a green father duster very easily you know.” Sabre just went on eating sunflower seeds and ignored RB’s ill-tempered mutterings.
Since RB gave Sabre to me, you might assume he was my bird. Well, maybe he was my bird in reality, but somehow he fell in love with RB. Sabre would have no more than necessary to do with Martha. (Who incidentally did all the work connected with keeping him.) When Robert Ben would leave, Sabre would call out: “Bye, bye Bob!” He picked up every name which was popular around the store, but refused to say, “Martha.” It was a bitter pill to swallow, but sadly true. Sabre did not like women. Some anniversary present.
RB has a hang up about needing someone or something to watch him while he works on watches. He used to have a spider monkey, but he got rid of him when he ate a part of a watch. After we acquired Sabre, he would let him sit on his bench and watch him repair watches. (Well whatever turns RB on is okay with me. Especially if it’s just feathers.)
It does make an imposing picture. That fat green buzzard sitting there watching RB work. At least Sabre doesn’t eat watch parts, so it is an improvement from the monkey! However, the monkey did have his good point too. At least he couldn’t talk. When Sabre settles down to watch RB work he always asks, “What are you doing?” To which RB replies, “I’m working on a bummer.”
Since parrots live from 30 to 60 years, I suppose we’re stuck with Sabre. Now if we can just get him off his perch and into really repairing watches (instead of just talking about it) we’ll make a fortune! But like Sabre now says: “No way man!”