Published May 9, 2010

There’s something to be said for having a pet who can talk. At the very least, it makes life a little bit exciting. New words are always fun, but so is the whole weirdly not real conversational aspect. But first, of course, Junior practices. Sometimes, I get lucky and I get to overhear the practice.

That was how Friday started. Junior was playing in the driveway, running around on the ground and tearing up some wooden toys he has. He was excited, running back and forth, throwing the toys up in the air, then grabbing them in one claw and tearing at them with his beak. Some prey!

In the midst of a great hopping and flapping of wings came the new word. Something that he hears from us often, when he gets flappy around the house: “relax, Junior.” When he gets too worked up, before he can get picked up or get a kiss or anything like that, he has to relax. Reeeelllaaaax, we say it, real slow, and he stops bouncing on his tree and flapping his wings and gets quiet and earns that kiss. And then on Friday he says it to himself, and stops hopping and flapping and just quietly dismantles a clothespin.

Then, a couple of hours later, he was perched on top of the back gate. Lately he’s been spending his time on that gate ducking away from a mean crow who likes to fly low and buzz him, but Friday was a sunny day and the crow was nowhere to be found. Junior got to fidgeting, and the next thing I knew the back gate was wide open. So I shut it, and, a minute later, there was a loud click and the gate swung open again. I closed it again, just to catch him in the act this time — he’d figured out the latch and was opening it.

Finally, when his mother got home, he was so excited to see her that he came out running — something he’s never done before. I’ve got to admit, there’s little that’s as good as a bird toddling along: