A Macaw To Remember
A Macaw To Remember
I never know what will happen after I knock on a door. I expect that someone will open the door with a welcoming smile and a firm hand shake. Then step to one side, motion me inside and escort me to the furniture that I am to repair. While this is the most common scenario. I am often surprised by some unexpected break from normal human behavior. It is these breaks that remind me why I love my Job.
I was called to a home to replace an arm cover on a sofa. When I knocked, I could hear from somewhere deep within the house, hasty foot steps making their way towards the door. The knob began to twist and with a fast, but unbelievably quiet, deliberate movement, the door opened. It was a woman, in her mid-thirties, light sandy blond hair, pretty features whose presences gave an air of control. You could tell she was in charge.
Without saying hello, in one deliberate and graceful action, she quickly and cautiously stepped out onto the porch and soundlessly closed the door behind her. Clearly it was a practiced move. However, in her haste, I had to shift back a couple of steps to avoid being stepped on. Then, with the same deliberate forcefulness, she grabbed my arm and quickly walked me off the porch to the side walk. As we marched, she nervously glanced back at the house, trying to see through the window on the door, offering me my first clue to her unusual and seemingly paranoid behavior.
"Quick!" she said, "Over here! I don’t want HIM to see you! "
My first thought was of her husband or boyfriend.
"Who?" I asked, with a worried tone of voice. I was beginning to feel as though I was involved in some sort of dangerous conspiracy.
" My bird" she answered with a role of her eyes and a slight shaking of her head to show her frustration. “I need to cover him before you come in." Once we had stepped away from the windows her anxiety seemed to disappear. My anxiety, on the other hand, had just morphed into confusion. Her expression told me she thought her explanation seemed completely sane. With a nod of my head, and an understanding look, I acknowledged her insufficient response as though it made complete since.
Now I wasn’t a complete stranger to birds. My daughter had a couple of parakeets and I have friends that keep them as well. In my business dealings I have often been in homes with parrots and macaws. Once I even went to an ostrich farm. So unless she had an ostrich in there. I was sure she was overreacting!
Never had I seen anyone act in this manner over a bird. This behavior was more akin to a dog owner! Dog owners typically yell through the door at me instructing me to hold on while they put their dog out back. This lady however, acted as though there was some sort of evil intelligence lurking on the other side of the door. “What kind of terrible creature was this bird?” I thought to myself.
Still standing on the side walk in front of her house, she went on to explain some need to know information about her sofa. She asked how long I thought it would take to complete the repair. Happy with my estimated time frame, she instructed me to hang tight. Then she disappeared back into the house to cover “The Bird.”
After a few seconds she reappeared at the door way beckoning me to come in. I wasn’t sure I wanted to! I went to my van to retrieve the needed tools to perform my job and headed into the house. I entered and saw a bird cage against the wall directly across from the door. It was covered almost completely by a small sheet leaving only a small window at the bottom of the cage where the cover was unable to reach. It was a pretty good size cage maybe 3.5’ x 4.5’. Although I could not see the bird, I judged from the size of the cage the bird had to be a parrot or macaw. After a careful and suspicious look at the cage and its cover, I determined that I was safe enough. So I located the sofa just a few feet away. I walked over to it and prepared my working area. After all was in place, I began my work by turning the sofa upside down.
I have notice over the years that indoor pets take a keen interest in what I do. Cats and dogs are one of the amusements of my Job. They are like children. Quick to accept me and want to be apart of the goings on. Most of my repairs are performed smack in the middle of a living room. Because I bring with me a menagerie of unique sounds, smells and activities, most find my work irresistible.
Cats are especially intrigued when I turn a sofa or a loveseat upside down. From their perspective I have just created a whole new space to be explored. Cats are fun to watch but bring me to tears literally because I’m allergic to their fur. As a result I must enjoy them from a distance. This creates a conflict of wills. A small war of sorts between me and them. I want the cats over there, but they want to be over here. In the end I will either have to surrender or call to the home owner for help.
Dogs love my blanket. The first thing I do when I work in a house is lay out a blanket to protect the carpet. However, Fido believes the blanket was put their just for him. The blanket carries the smell of every house and every dog I have visited since its last washing. It’s impossible to start working until the dog has covered every square inch of it, locating every smell its fibers can yield. Once satisfied, he then finds the middle of the blanket and plops down. This is okay when the dog is small. They are easily dispatched. It is the larger ones that create the problem. They are not usually dangerous. They just want to play. When I try to prod them off the blanket by pushing on their sides with my foot or hands they roll over with a look that says while you’re at it, scratch my belly too. Others will bring their toy with them. They refuse to move until I throw it. They have a way of looking at you. Melting your resistance and bending your will, forcing you to play. But I learned early on not to give in to such K-9 telepathy. Because once you start they will never let you quit. As with the cats, I usually have to turn to the home owner for help.
Birds apparently share the same curiosity. After I flipped over the sofa I went to my tool box for my staple remover. It was at the bottom of my chest so I had to fumble around in the box to find it. The noise of my tools being jostled around must have attracted its attention. Because as I searched, I could hear it moving around in its cage behind me. By now, I had forgotten all about the strange behavior I had witnessed earlier. My mind was fixed on the task at hand. Having found my tool I began removing the staples that attached the dusk cover to the bottom of the sofa.
The Evil Bird
Little did I know, evil was creeping its way to the uncovered bars at the bottom of the cage.
Removing staples usually takes quite a bit of time and requires very little presence of mind. Only a firm hand and a certain flick of the tool to remove the staples. As a result, I often set my hands on auto pilot. At these times I go into my own world. I believe this particular day I was at the beach enjoying the calming soothing waves of the ocean as they rolled in on the shore.
As I imaged my perfect holiday, lost in a blissful daydream with hula girls dancing off to the side, Evil made its way to the opening. He knew he had me. In hind sight, I can almost hear him chuckle to himself. I was soo unsuspecting. The bird was in a cage what could it hurt?
From directly behind me came an earth shattering, heart stopping, life taking, I wish I was dead, bellowing jungle-horn like sound. I can tell you with certainty that I now know what made the cow jump over the moon! Had the roof of the house not been in the way, I would have made it to Mars!
The squawk was an alarm that was aimed directly at the back of my head. It was not a short burst! It was long and loud, grinding on your ear drums and shattering your nervous system as its thunder like intensity rolled through your body. It sounded as if someone had blasted one of those compressed air horns directly behind my head. I never new sound could hurt!
After what seemed like an eternity, the woman of the house came running out from the back of the house, yelling something that could not be heard over the vibrating bird. She had the look of a worn, haggard woman; her expression spoke of a deep inner hatred! She hurriedly adjusted the blanket so that the bird could no longer be seen. It was crazy the moment that I was out of the birds’ sight it stopped! Just like an off switch. However because the sheet was small for the cage, the opening was simply relocated to the side of the cage.
To my horror the women quickly disappeared back to her room. As you might expect the bird started making it way to the opening at the side of the cage. I could hear his claws scrape against the bird cage, closing the distance between itself and the opening. I stood in fear and silence. I knew that once this maniacal bird set its eye upon me he would start screaming again.
Closer and closer he came to the opening. It was all I could do not to run before it got there. Instead I placed my fingers deeply in my ears and waited. Sure enough the moment the birds’ head made it to the opening, he fixed his eye on me. I actually saw the bird inhale. It collected enough wind in it lungs to blow up the Goodyear Blimp! Like 50 trumpets all blasting off key in unison, It bellowed out! He let fly the mother of all alarms. I swear the furniture moved! Fortunately, I had been prepared!
This time the woman came sprinting out of her room. I was dismayed however, because it became clear that her intention was to simply adjust the sheet again! I knew I was not going to get any work done as long as this bird was determine to blast me every time it saw me. So I politely protested. I requested she get a larger sheet to cover the cage as it was clear that the bird was determined to seek the openings. I’m not sure but I think I saw a faint nervous twitch in her right eye when I used the words “bird” and “cover”. Fortunately for me, she agreed.
In the end, I was able to complete the repair with out any further disruptions. As I was headed toward the door the young woman thanked me for putting up with her deafening Macaw. She explained that it was a gift to her daughter. The look of remorse overwhelmed her face. As I put my hand on the door knob to exit, she pleaded, "Do you know anyone that wants a bird?"
I smiled while shaking my head. "No Ma'am" I said as I shut the door, being careful not to make a sound.
Listen To Your Conscience
Uncovering My Conscience
Even though it has been several years, I think of this bird often. I find it amazing how God has used the memory of that vigilant bird to show me spiritual truths. To me, he has come to represent my conscience. Consider if you will that the alarm it sounded was impossible to ignore. Like that caged bird whose only power was its voice of alarm. God has equipped our conscience with an alarm system that is empowered by the Holy Spirit. It too is a voice of alarm that is impossible to ignore. When under conviction, we can either heed its warnings or throw a sheet over it. I have found that my conscience is just as determined to alert me to sin as that troublesome bird was to find that window. Battling our conscience is tiring and burdensome. Having to run out every few seconds to adjust the sheet will wear us out. Before long a nervous twitch just may develop.
For me, peace of mind comes as I learn to listen to my conscience. I now endeavor to remove the sheets and enjoy its company. When I listen, it does not have to shout.
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