Dickie Bird, my dad's beloved budgie, died unexpectedly today.
Before my dad could run to get a dropper of whiskey to revive him--the way, as a teenager, he had successfully saved his former budgie from death once before, a budgie that went on to live 15+ years--the bird trembled as one last pulse of life filtered through his tiny body and died right there in the cup of my dad's hand.
Dickie was a humorous companion; he was one of the few birds we've had who actually learned to speak, and managed to convincingly mimic my dad's Brooklyn accent as he spoke his 25+ words and phrases ("Finnegan, where are you?" was a favorite of mine; "Where's the beer?" another).
He even captured my dad's guttural guffaw so well that we would often have to look and see if it was my dad or the bird who was actually in the room laughing. We often referred to him as my father's dog, since he perked up when my dad entered the room, fed off his breakfast and dinner plates, and spent countless hours dutifully perched on his shoulder.
Tomorrow we will say a few words of remembrance for Dickie and bury him in the garden at my parents' house. It will be Finn's first encounter with death and burial and we intend to keep the experience lighthearted, focusing on the celebration of the bird's life and the joy he gave my father--and us--over the last 7+ years.
Godspeed, Dickie Boy!