Tube Steak’s mystery vacation

(The following is a true story. The names have not been changed to protect the innocent because who is innocent and who is not is unknowable.)

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AT A CONSIDERABLE distance in the past, I lived alone in a slave quarter apartment on Dauphine Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans.

Alone as far as human companionship is concerned, which is not to say I lacked human companionship on occasion, especially of the female variety because this being decades ago I was young and quite the manly looker.

I still hold my own in the geriatric category.

I lived with a fellow whom I kept in a cage. He was a small parrot, and his name was Tube Steak. I don’t recall his specific species in the avian world, but he was smaller than your usual parrot, but about twice the size of a parakeet.

One morning, on leaving for work, I left the kitchen window open. It must have been a pretty day, and there were banana trees in the small patio that grew up to my second-floor apartment, which consisted solely of one largish room, a small bathroom and a tiny kitchen. A bachelor pad. I was between wives.

There was a small balcony that overlooked the lush patio, and I occasionally purchased a burlap bag of oysters, invited friends over, and I’d shuck the mollusks, which we enjoyed with cold Dixie beer.

Tube Steak exhibited no interest in raw oysters or Dixie beer.

But, as I said above, one morning I went to work, leaving the kitchen window open, not thinking of the cat that I knew lived in the patio below. Neither did I think of his being a second-story man which, of course, all cats are.

When I returned in the afternoon, the cage sat on its side on the floor, the sliding bottom was open, and Tube Steak was gone. I reached the logical conclusion that the cat had entered via the kitchen window and made off with my bird.

Sadly, I retrieved the cage and stashed it in the closet.

About two weeks later, I was sprawled on the bed for a nap with the French doors opened onto the balcony. It was not an oyster-and-Dixie day. I was alone.

And then I wasn’t. Tube Steak walked through the door from the balcony. He did not fly in. He strutted in, right there on the floor. He seemed no worse for wear. He appeared unconcerned, offering nary an explanation.

I pulled the cage from the closet. Tube Steak hopped in, and life returned to normal with one exception. On leaving for work, I shut the kitchen window from that day forward.

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(Note: What brought this to mind was another bird yarn that I read yesterday, The Myna Bird by Ray Clifton, an Alabaman who wanders in the woods and writes good stories to boot.)

Morning art

art

SUNDAY MORNINGS my child bride slows down for a few moments. Idleness is contrary to her nature.

After bagels and Philly cheese at 8, we often take our cafecitos into the living room and plop atop the scarlet sofa.

That’s where I get an earful about her relatives. Since I have no idea what my relatives (just two alive now, above the Rio Bravo) are doing, I cannot reciprocate.

The son of a nephew here in town turned 6 yesterday. There was a fiesta with hot dogs. She went. I did not.

I noticed the far wall, which was lit by sunshine coming through the large dining room window to the left.

The camera was nearby, so I shot this photo.

The artwork we purchased some years ago from a fellow who walked into a downtown restaurant carrying it. He was the artist, and he was looking to sell. It’s a local scene.

It shows our lake, our beautiful mountains, and that’s how the indigenous women hereabouts dress.

The parrot, which is papier-mâché, was also purchased locally, but in a nearby village. The bird is large, and he keeps a vigilant eye on the living room 24/7.*

These Sunday morning sessions can vary in length. Today’s was relatively brief but — as always — nice.

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* I like to sound hip now and then. Does anyone even say hip anymore? Having to ask lowers my hip status, I guess.

Dawn of June

Loro

JUNE DEBUTED this morning blue and cool. This follows quite a few days of gray and cool. This morning’s style is preferred.

This photo is, of course, somewhat similar to that of two days ago, but so what? I shifted to the left, so you get part of the monster bougainvillea. And those three pointy trees in the background that are in the neighbor’s yard across the street. He is a nice man who runs a small clothing store downtown, and his hair is silver like mine. My age too. How about that?

Often, when I gaze upon my garden, I think of my second ex-wife. She is a plant fanatic, a trained horticulturalist, and she works hard in her yard there in Houston. It looks nice (Thanks, Google Earth), but it’s nothing like this. And I put such little effort into it.

Plant, stand back, rain. Voilá.

It’s just not fair.

It’s such a lovely day that we two will motor out into the countryside for lunch at a place called The Tiger.

I often read news stories online about how one can plan and survive retirement financially in these difficult Obama times. Occasionally, I leave a comment that it’s simple. Just sell your junk. Pack your bags. Fly to Mexico.

I get responses like: That’s nuts. You’ll get murdered.  And similar silliness.

Ha!