“Yellow Fellow Come Home”
One day in the middle of February, Mom’s cell phone rang. That happens a lot, but the story about to be told by the man on the other end does not! “My name is Tom, and I’m a truck driver,” he started out, “and for about a year and a half, I have always had a little Green Cheek Conure. This bird was the love of my life, she and my cattle dog, Bandit. Now, the dog and the bird always got along great. I was afraid they weren’t going to, but that little bird bit Bandit one good time, and they were best buddies! They slept together, and all three of us shared our meals. About a week ago,” here his voice faltered, and it was a few seconds before he continued, “About a week ago, I was in Long Island, New York. It was freezing cold, so I had my little bird in the back of my jacket. Suddenly, a great gust of wind sprang up. It slammed the truck door against my back, killing my little bird.” His next words tumbled over each other, as if he were in a great hurry to get them out: “I want another Green Cheek, do you have any available?” Believe me, Mom wished with all her heart that we had a baby for him, but all we had was eggs. She explained that to him, and he replied with great enthusiasm, “Oh, I’ll still reserve a baby, even if it’s still in the egg! I have looked over your all’s website and I definitely am getting a baby from you! And actually, I’ll reserve two; I have another truck driver friend who wants one.” So, late the next week, Mr. Tom pulled up in his big truck and reserved a little Green Cheek for himself and his friend, Loren.
As the weeks went by, the eggs hatched and we pulled those little naked, pink wads of Bubble Gum inside to start handfeeding. They were soon old enough to determine which two would go to our “truck driving friends.” One of the babies was a bird that had a lot of beautiful yellow on his chest, thus our nickname “Yellow Fellow.” The other bird was a sweet little girl whose name ended up as Miss Cleo (aka Cleopatra). They grew fast and were ready for their excited new owners by Memorial Day weekend.
When he came to pick them up, we did everything as usual: showed him how to put flight suits on, gave him the hatch certificates, the sample seed, health guarantees, and millet. After getting the bird’s suits on and ready to go, we walked them out to his big truck. Everything looked normal, and we said Goodnight.
About 6:30 the next morning, the insistent ringing of our phone jolted us all awake. Of course, the first thought that flashed through everyone’s mind was, “OH NO!!! Something’s happened to one of the birds we sent home last night.” We held our breath as Mom answered the phone and sure enough, it was Tom on the other line. Our hearts sank as he told us what had happened, “This morning, Loren and I were trying to put the Flight Suits on the birds. We were sitting in my truck and I didn’t realize that my windows were open just a crack. Yellow Fellow got away from us and flew out the window before I could stop him! I know that at your all’s house, he couldn’t fly two feet! His wings were clipped so short that I had no fear. But, when that bird got outside, he must have grown magical wings or something. He soared off and was gone. Right now, we are at the Flying J truck stop at 67th Ave and I10. I was supposed to be in Thousand Palms, California last night. It will take me about 6 ½ hours to get there. I will stay here until about noon and then head out. Loren and Miss Cleo will stay here. We think we can see him up in the trees.” We instantly set to work, putting “LOST BIRD” signs up and calling everyone we knew. Once we had done all we could do, we settled down to wait.
Here at home, we all started praying!
About 7:30 that evening, our phone rang again. Our hopes rose a little bit as the familiar voice on the other end questioned, “Do you believe in miracles? If you don’t, you sure are going to now! I drove the 6 ½ hour drive to Thousand Palms with a heavy heart, wishing my little bird was in the cab with me, instead of (probably) back in the trees at Flying J. When I reached my destination, I stepped out of my cab and guess what? A very dirty, very tired, very hungry and thirsty, very ruffled Yellow Fellow fluttered down on me!!!!! His feet were covered in grease, so my guess is that he hung onto my truck all the way here! All he can do now is EAT. Already, he has eaten an entire slice of apple, a piece of zucchini bread, and a piece of banana bread! I am so thankful to have him back.”
A few weeks later, he stopped at Flying J again and in the trees was what looked like a wild flock of Green Cheeks. “That,” he explained, “is probably what Loren and I saw the day the Yellow Fellow got loose.”
We still thank the Lord that little Yellow Fellow came back safe and sound.
I hope you enjoyed this amazing story about the love between a man and his birds!
Lisa Dales, age 12
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