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Lola the parrot
By Alain Gracio
Thursday, June 20, 2002
Lola the Parrot
When I was growing up in Masaya a small country-side rural town in Nicaragua; my brother and I would often spent spend weekends at Grandma’s at her farm. The days were much longer then; and my biggest worry was not having enough time to play during the day. We loved staying over at Grandma’s for a variety of reasons. One of them was Grandma would spoil us rotten. She never uttered harsh or stern words at us that I can recall only lots of prayer and fire and brimstone warnings if we misbehaved.
Our Grandma would prepare all kinds of delicious plates and treats for us. There were always unlimited quantities of food of all sorts. Fresh milk, fruits and vegetables from her farm were constantly being brought in. Every morning Grandma would have fresh baked bread still warm from the oven on the table with lots of homemade butter and honey, and plenty of wholesome milk! I remember the aroma would fill our nostrils. We would dress in a hustle and run down to the kitchen to feast on the treats.
Grandma’s parrot was the other reason we liked to visit her. Every morning after breakfast we rushed down to the garden and played with Lola. There she would be high up on her veranda to keep her safe from cats or other predators. She had a boardwalk, which was actually a thick piece of wooden plank where she would walk back and forth as if in deep thought with her wings tucked behind her back. Her poise was firm and her pace was hurried and with purpose. She was a beautiful, elegant, robust green colored bird about a foot in height and a red blotch on her feathered chest. Her beak was sort of long, yet pudgy, curvy and lethal looking. Her eyes were tiny round and black; they looked like perfect ink blotches. Lola had a feisty temperament and a bad habit of exaggerating, lying, and teasing.
Early one morning we were awakened by some horrendous screams coming from the garden where Lola was perched. We woke up and didn’t even bother to dress. Lola sounded like she was in trouble. All we heard was her screaming something about a cat! A cat! Her voice had urgency and it was filled with panic. With my eyes still half shut and my vision blurry with my brother beside me. We looked at each other and I could tell by the look on his face he was expecting the worse. “Oh no! A cat is eating Lola!” he exclaimed. I looked quickly to where Lola would be on her walkway. By then Grandma had turned the lights on, and there she was a silent and still figure, standing at full attention. All of a sudden she let out a deep hearty laugh coming from deep within her belly a loud laugh that seemed to have no end. The odd thing was that it sounded like an exact duplication of my grandmother’s laugh sort of a turkey gobble.
I looked at Grandma with disbelief. She knew how much we cared about Lola. “Naughty bird,” Grandma said, “Naughty Lola”. The bird looked in her direction. Cocking and tilting her head sideways as if trying to capture the pitch of her voice, she then looked up at us and mimicked her reprimands. “Naughty bird” the bird said, Naughty Lola.” I could tell she was enjoying and liked the attention and commotion she was getting and causing. Myself I thought “What a rascal Lola was”, as I headed back to bed.
The next night early in the wee hours of the morning it all began again .I woke up but not as urgently as previous night. This time the screams sounded a lot worse than the night before. The screams and screeches were louder. “CAT! CAT!” you could hear her imploring. I tapped my brother on the shoulder waking him up, “I’m not going to get up and see that silly bird,” he told me,
“Come on it will be fun watching that stupid bird make a fool out of herself,” I said.
As we were walking towards the garden, I noticed all activity had stopped. There was an immense silence in the air, a dead stillness. There are not many sounds a dead bird can make. I realized that my worst nightmare had probably occurred. As my eyes adapted to the darkness, the players started to take on shapes and figures. Momentarily I thought I saw Lola lying dead. But then she stood up and started walking but limping. She looked all ruffled up; her feathers were in disarray. She looked nervous and her expression was grave. To my chagrin she maintained her composure and poise amid the chaos that had transpired. Then her voice broke out, “Naughty cat, naughty cat” she kept repeating.
On the ground beneath her I saw a cat busy licking his wounds, and it looked as if one of his eyes had been plucked out. My sense of justice was misplaced among the events. I didn’t know whom to feel sorry for then. All I realized then was that Lola was a survivor and a fighter. By this time everyone was awake. I looked at my brother and Grandma they were just standing there lost in their own thoughts. Myself, I was hoping the bird had learned a lesson from all this!
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