|Erica in First Grade (left) & her Best Friend Leah|
Once we arrived at home, we set his cage on a kitchen counter where he happily chirped while perched on his wooden rod. My son, finding Oliver interesting, opened the cage to pet his furry head while I was engrossed in a phone conversation. Seeing a chance at freedom, Oliver flew out of his prison and lapped the kitchen.
As the loose bird soared, my children tried to cup him in their hands, but no, children's paws are not good for capturing birds. To trap a bird, it takes a professional; it takes a golden retriever. That's right. Snap! Our dog Swaz thought he was helping by catching little Oliver in his toothy jaws.
I dropped the phone, let out a panic scream, and ascended on the bird-catching furball to pry his thick jaws open. Oliver fell out of the Swaz's dark mouth and landed on the floor. I picked up the slobber-soaked bird and placed his shaking body back in the cage.
Oliver didn't sing anymore. Not his high-pitched flute sounds nor deep-pitched oboe; not country, rock, or rap. He just hugged the wall of the kitchen and shook like a schizo. Every time our dog sniffed or even passed the cage, he squeezed even closer to his corner, shook harder, and his beady bird eyes grew as large as ping pong balls. Okay, they stayed small and beady, but he was scared.
Finally the day came for Erica to bring Oliver back to school and share her journal about Oliver's week. The shocking truth proved a bit of an embarrassment, especially when Oliver mysteriously kicked the bucket over the summer. I think it was heart failure from plaguing nightmares of sharp teeth. RIP, Oliver.