Our second Meet & Greet (and these are in no meaningful order, by the way) takes us inside the house to meet the African Grey Parrots, Scarlet and Hannah. The parrots live on the sun porch in a magnificent double-wide cage where they entertain us with their singing and chatter.
Hannah came to us second of the two but she is the reason we got Scarlet in the first place. Hannah was the beloved companion to our dear family friend and pastor Father Rod DiPietro who passed away unexpectedly a few years ago. While Fr Rod was still with us, GiGi and PopPop bird-sat Hannah for him anytime he was out of town. PopPop and Hannah developed a quick friendship, always trying to out-do each other in whistling contests, and it wasn’t long before PopPop wanted an African Grey of his own. So Scarlet (officially Scarlet Anne Grey… she’s a big Buckeye fan) came along in 2007. Scarlet and Hannah got acquainted and chatted from their respective cages whenever Rod brought Hannah by for bird-sitting over the next couple of years. So it was a natural for Hannah to move in permanently when Rod passed away.
At first, it was very difficult to have Hannah in the house, speaking in Rod’s voice, so soon after he was gone. The day of his death was the biggest day of the annual church festival (which Rod loved) and we were all signed up to volunteer. Of course, none of us felt much like partying that day but we knew Rod would have wanted his beloved festival to continue. GiGi had gone to his home earlier in the day to collect Hannah and her things so she was set up in her usual, familiar place when we gathered our things to go to the festival. Right as we walked out the door, Hannah said (in Rod’s voice), “I’ll be right back, Hannah.” Cue broken-hearted sobbing for the rest of the night. I was selling drink tickets that night. I was a lot of fun.
As time has passed, though, we have loved having Hannah in our lives. She still speaks in Rod’s voice but now it’s comforting instead of heart-wrenching. (Although I’d be lying if I said I didn’t cry writing that last paragraph.) Hannah and Scarlet are buddies now and shared a cage for 3 years before they got upgraded to this new luxury model that has a middle divider insert which allows them to be next to each other while having their own rooms. They chatter back and forth, sing duets, and try to outdo each others’ decibel levels. If you’ve never met an African Grey, they are brilliant and funny; they will keep you laughing and then break out of their cage while you’re distracted.
Nothing teaches you more about yourself than having a parrot in the household. The things they chose to repeat make you take a step back and see your days from a different perspective. Like the period of time Scarlet started making the smoke alarm noise every time I stepped in the kitchen. Or the fact that Hannah still sings the theme from Cops and chants “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!” and we remember Rod’s questionable taste in television programming. They surely aren’t birds for those who lack a sense of humor 🙂
Scarlet’s Favorite Phrases:
- “Duncan, lay down!”
- “C’mon, let’s go outside.”
- “Guinness, be quiet!”
- “Big noise”
- “Who’s a pretty bird?”
Hannah’s Favorite Phrases:
- “Would you like a bone?” *this is what she says when she wants a peanut*
- “Jerry! Jerry! Jerry!”
- “Bad boys, bad boys. Whatcha gonna do when they come for you?”
- “AUUUUGH!!!” *this sounds like she’s being murdered… no one knows where she got it from but I think she’s going for an Oscar*
I’m sure there are a bunch I haven’t listed because they’re the background noise to my day. They both like to discipline the dogs, sing birdie-type songs, and now they’ve taken to meowing like the cats.
And now you know the parrots!