Remembering Tommy

It was the Christmas after I got married.  My present was hidden behind a large cardboard box, but he got noisy before the big reveal and gave himself away.

A hand-fed, albino cockatiel.  We named him Tommy, although now I can’t remember why.  Just seemed right, I guess.  My husband admitted openly that part of his reasoning to get him is so that I wouldn’t get a cat! 🙂   This photo was a few weeks later, at my hubby’s birthday.  I was 19.  Later that day, Tommy would jump off my finger and run right across the birthday cake!  (Frosting is not easy to get out of angry little bird feet, just sayin’!)

He hung out with us, grabbed food off our plates and even tried to pick our teeth!  Pasta was a special favorite.   He loved to cuddle underneath my hair on my shoulder while I watched t.v.   This picture is from the early 1990’s, with my husband, and our other beloved dogs, Boomer and Breaker.  Also now gone.

He was with us for every move, every change, every addition to our family.  (Here he is eyeballing Kujo with suspicion.) He is in the background of almost every memory I have for the last twenty years.  I had to shield my college term papers from him or they would be turned in with chunks chewed off them.  He would ‘stalk’ the dogs, wandering around them as they slept–he would not look at them directly, picking at the carpet slyly and then creep over and pull on their hair.  Then he would run away, with his wings out to make himself look bigger.   He loved to be petted behind the head, rubbing backwards, fluffing up his feathers.  He would butt his head up under your fingers, even your toes, demanding attention. 

He never flew very well, so I would take him outside with me.  So of course, predictably, one day he caught just the right wind and flew over the house and out into the neighborhood.  I searched up and down the streets.  Enough time had passed that I had all but given up, but I did another round and found him in a tree!  He flew to the ground and ran frantically to me, like, “MOMMY!  This world is HUGE! TAKE ME HOME!!!”

Tommy was kinda grumpy and gruff–he learned early on if you were younger than about 12 years old, he wanted nothing to do with you.  He only wanted pets when he wanted pets, and he only wanted a bath if he initiated it.  Otherwise a hiss of displeasure would be his only greeting.  But if he wanted attention, which he often did, he would sing.  It’s even on the background of my answering machine.

The last few years, he had grown a little more reserved, and a lot more blind.  But everyday I would hold him and feed him his favorite, Avicakes.  And even as late as yesterday, he greeted me with a whistle when I came home.

I am grateful, grateful I didn’t have to take him to a vet to be put down, which I feared would happen someday relatively soon.  That he died peacefully at home in the early hours this morning.  I know because I heard him, in my half-asleep state, give a few sneezes and then grow quiet again.  That was all.  I had asked God for that, and He granted me that favor.  I am grateful.

Thanks for listen to me ramble, ramble about a very small creature that shared over half my lifetime.  Who marked all my milestone, and a lot of my t-shirts.  Who cheered me up, interrupted my phone calls with his chatter, and glared at me when I put him on Boomer’s back to ride around the living room.   Who scampered across the floor and scaled my pantleg like a rockclimber.  Who could soothe me by just watching him groom all his feathers, one by one.  A small creature that I loved very much.

I’ll miss you, Tommy.  Thank you.

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~ by collidescopes on August 2, 2011.

3 Responses to “Remembering Tommy”

  1. Our darling staci as Kylee Hunter Nica and I read this we were very moved! What a wonderful tribute to Tommy!!! and great pictures!!
    We all love you and are sorry for your loss.
    Love from all of us!!!

  2. Oh Staci, we are sorry for your loss. I’m glad he died at home, too. Yes, Tommy has been around since I’ve known you! Great groovy pictures! Did you remember that Tigger the cat got to Tommy first?

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