The PRESS BOX
Ruler of the Roost
Pablo, my parrot, has reigned
supreme in my home for the past 32 years—the unconditional and unchallenged
ruler of the roost!
blue-fronted Amazon joined my family when he was just 6 months old, a birthday
gift for my oldest son, Tommy. Pablo, however, had other ideas. He bonded with
me and, by default, became mine.
Untamed and untrained, with most of his
green feathers still unfurled, my baby Godzilla quickly took charge of training
youngster, he exhibited many skills, the strongest of which was his ability to
pick locks—starting with the one on his cage.
one day when I came home to loud voices arguing in my supposedly empty house, I
grabbed a large kitchen knife and marched upstairs to confront the intruders.
Greeting me with a loud, surprised squawk was a very delighted parrot that had
picked the lock on his cage. He had also turned on Tommy’s television, adjusted
the volume to blaring, and was contentedly sitting in the remnants of the potato
chip bag that he had ripped open.
padlock soon went on his cage.
is a true gourmand, a veritable connoisseur of all cuisines. Mushrooms are the
only things he detests, quickly flinging them from his cage. Pasta is his
all foodies, Pablo’s favorite room is the kitchen. When I added a sunroom filled
with sunshine and flowers, it took me a year to realize that he had stopped
speaking because he was absolutely miserable in the lush “jungle” that I had
created for him. He wanted only to be back in “his” kitchen—and he has punished
me accordingly for the last 30 years, speaking only intermittently whenever I
crank up the Bose speakers.
is as protective of me as he would be of his mate in the wild. When I donated
furniture, Pablo perceived the delivery men to be threats and came to my rescue.
He flew within an inch over their heads, screaming raucously, until he landed on
top of mine. I’m sure that their families had a good laugh that night as the men
described the crazy lady holding a big collie with one hand while a menacing
parrot paced back and forth atop her head.
afterward, my sons brought me a sign that read: “Beware! Attack parrot on
age 2, my triplet grandchildren had their own way of communicating with each
other. As they sat around my kitchen table mysteriously “talking” in their own
special language, they appeared surprised to hear their unique sounds coming
from behind them. All three heads turned in unison to stare at this interloper
that had evidently fashioned himself the “fourth” triplet. Needless to say,
Pablo was very pleased.
has been known to lull visitors into a false sense of security, waiting
patiently until they utter those fatal words: “See, you’re wrong. He won’t bite
me. He loves me.”
then he attacks—and with a beak that can apply up to 250 pounds of pressure per
square inch, his bite is formidable. Also, he is a hook-beak, and that means,
when bitten, you have to fight your natural instinct to pull away.
is another reason why I keep Pablo in his cage whenever I have company.
what do I do with this inimitable character who has given me both love and
laughs, and who will most likely outlive me? Well, Pablo’s in my will, and he’s
going back to Tommy. And fortunately for all parties, Tommy’s wife, Sharon,
Maria Daddino lives in East Quogue and writes the “From Fourth Neck” column for The Southampton Press