Jamie: a Love Story

It was only the second day of the new year 2004, in the evening, and I was working in my office at home. Jamie was hanging out with me, and keeping me company as I worked. Jamie, a beautiful green cheeked Conure, had a body larger than a Budgie, but smaller than a Cockatiel. She had dark blue-black feathers on the top of her head; a green back and wings; red, orange, yellow, and white feathers on her chest; and red tail feathers. She was a quiet person most of the time, unless I was playing music on the computer, then she liked to sing along. She had the voice of an angel. Her company was always welcome.

Dinner time was slowly creeping up on us, and finally I found a good stopping point, and decided to take a break for dinner. I got up from my old executive chair and it gave out a loud squeak as it tipped back up, and I made a movement toward the door. Jamie spied this movement, and flew to my shoulder. After all, she wasn’t going to be left behind at dinner time. Funny thing about birds: they seem to have a little clock in their heads because they always seem to know what time it is.

We made the short walk from the office to the kitchen in half darkness. Gladys, my wife, had gone up to our bedroom to watch TV, and other family members had done the same, so most of the lights were out. I turned on the lights in the kitchen, went to the refrigerator, and began looking around for something. Jamie just hung onto my shoulder and took in the sights. I grabbed a plate of leftover New Year’s Day ham, and pulled it out. Then I found a couple of other tidbits including some potato salad, then pushed the door closed with my hips, and took the bountiful feast of leftovers to the table.

I sat down to eat, and Jamie moseyed over to the plate of ham, pulled off a nice piece of pineapple which had been baked in brown sugar, and began to eat. I started peeling off pieces of ham and eating them, interleaved with bites of potato salad, and washed them down with milk. When we had eaten our fill, I put my hand down for Jamie to climb on, and she stepped up onto my finger. A quick ride up to my shoulder and she stepped off. I picked up the plates and put them in the sink.

It was then I noticed that Jamie began to look weak and had a difficult time holding on to my shoulder. I took her into my hands, and I took her upstairs to show Gladys. We talked, and I decided to take her to a vet right away, so we returned downstairs to the office, and Gladys held and comforted Jamie while I looked in the phone book for a vet, and began making calls.

On rare occasions, events occur in our lives that we could never have predicted, that change our lives in ways we could never have imagined, and that take us down paths from which we can never return. As I called frantically, looking for a vet for Jamie, suddenly she vocalized with a loud squawk, and she was dead. Gladys handed her to me, and I took her little body in my hands, held her, and cried until her body had cooled. On that night, I began my journey from whence there would be no return.