aka Mr. Underhill
We had him since he graduated from nest to cage bottom. The Queen Mother's former neighbor was a parakeet lover and incidental breeder (leave twenty male and female parakeets together in a large cage and eventually you'll have more than twenty). In the mild California climate, they lived outdoors year round. I'd never seen any parakeets colored quite like hers and I was thrilled. See all the color in Frodo's wing? Most parakeets a la PetSmart have gray wings. Sunshine yellow head. And his face dots--deepest purple. Turquoise and glacier green body. Intense cobalt tail feathers. And as sweet as he was beautiful.
Frodo enjoyed getting the run of the house while I baked Christmas pie, kneaded bread and cooked cranberry sauce. Most of the time he perched on my hair and supervised, but he decided to stretch his wings and inspect the Christmas decorations too.
Four days after this photo session, we found him on the bottom of his cage. He'd flown to heaven and left us behind. He had a good long life, but it was a sad end to our year.
I've spent the past week remembering his baby days when he'd cuddle...how he'd perch on my shoe while we sat in the recliner and watched TV...how he loved baths under the kitchen faucet...his extensive environmental vocabulary--our squeaky door, dog whistles, tinkling bells...his love of spinach leaves which he ate like a kid munching corn on the cob...trying his best to chat with our vacuum cleaner and blender...times when callers would ask how many birds we had when talking on the phone...how he played with silverware and loved getting it to drop off the dining table...how the frustrated dad in him would have him feeding the next best thing to a baby bird--the shiny bell in his cage...his appreciation of the tiny rhinestones in my reading glasses. He wasn't our family's first parakeet, but he was my first. Thinking about it, he would have been special even if he wasn't--he was an extraordinary character.
How can such a little bundle, weighing next to nothing, have been such a large part of our lives?
I miss you, Frodo-bug.