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A Bit on Life without a Congo Gray

Posted by [email protected] on November 13, 2015 at 2:20 PM

Today I am sad. Today I only hear the door latch to the basement once. No cheeky mimic from the other side of the house. Rudder is dead.


He wasn’t even mine. He belonged to my aunt. He was the comic relief in the house for 16 years. He was cantankerous and bitey, but he was still my curmudgeon friend.

When I arrived to live in my aunt’s house, he was wary of the world outside his cage. He was wary of the world inside his cage if you added a new toy. But bit by bit over the course of a year and a half, he softened towards me. Perhaps it was because of the pistachios and sweet potatoes and Lafeber Nutri-Berries, and being allowed to watch cartoons on my tablet. Or perhaps because it was just his whim.


I grew awfully fond of him, and I couldn’t start my day without getting his breakfast together. I’m grateful to my aunt for letting me hijack his morning routine. My attachment was apparent, and she didn’t seem to mind me doting on him. A few months back she caught me having a mimicking contest with Rudder when I thought I was in the house alone. Everyone was amused, including Rudder who would actually laugh when chuffed.


He was the leery and sharp-eyed court jester of the family. Somewhere in there was a bird who could be very merry indeed.


I came back from an extended stay at a friend’s empty house. I had stayed away from home because I had walking pneumonia, and I didn’t want to spread it around the family. When I returned, dear old Rudder was gone. Simply not there.


My aunt had also been extremely ill with a bacterial upper respiratory infection while I was away, and it had spread to the bird.  He succumbed.  And that was all.

The house is too quiet for my liking now. I comfort myself with a recording of him going through his repertoire for 18 wonderful minutes.  All his voices and noises. I play it now and again. I even made a video with an excerpt on YouTube.  Here is the link:

I do happymaking things with happymaking memories when I can.  In time I know the pangs of grief will ebb and flow, and the intervals between the tides of tears will grow farther and farther apart. But for now, I am still heartsick.

Goodbye, Rudder.

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