In 2005, I developed a severely herniated disc in my back that eventually required surgery. Until the problem was properly diagnosed, I was in a lot of pain that necessitated much bed rest.
My family really should have given me a bell to ring when I needed something but since they didn’t, I had no choice but to shout loudly for someone, as our bedroom was at the far end of the house.
I seemed to call for my brother Jeff (who was living with us at the time) more than anyone else, as the kids were still quite young and Doug worked long hours.
So on any given day, the name “JEFF!” rang through the house several times.
(To his credit, he was unfailingly patient and good-natured…although there was that one time I woke up and he was standing over me with a pillow, saying “It’s for the best.”) 🙂
As you might imagine, the windows in Florida are not insulated, so sound carries easily. We were also blessed with a lot of cool days that year, so we were actually able to turn the air conditioning off and open the windows from time to time.
In the fall of that year, I had recovered from my surgery and not a moment too soon. Hurricane Wilma roared through south Florida as a Category 3, leaving a wide swath of destruction. Our neighborhood had no power for nine days.
Three days after the storm, a neighbor who owned a restaurant invited everyone to a cookout on the cul-de-sac around the corner from our house. The power was still out at the restaurant as well, so he decided to cook everything rather than having it spoil.
It was a delicious feast. Wilma had left cool breezes in her wake and we enjoyed spending time with our neighbors.
In the midst of talking and laughing, we suddenly heard it:
A moment passed, then there it was again:
We looked at each other in amazement, and followed the sound…to the garage of our neighbor who was providing the feast.
There, on a stand inside his open garage, was a parrot.
And he was yelling “JEFF!” over and over again, clear as a bell! And it sounded exactly like me!!!
We could not believe it…this bird had heard me yelling for Jeff all those times and was now repeating it!
Houses are very close together in south Florida and our neighbor’s home was diagonally behind ours, so the sound between houses carried easily. Our neighbor had also mentioned that his parrot liked to sit outside by the enclosed pool.
We have no doubt that our neighbor wondered why in the world his parrot was suddenly shouting the name Jeff…and we did not really want to enlighten him.
Parrots can live to up to 80 years old.
We left south Florida in 2007.
And that parrot still may be yelling for Jeff!
So, the moral of this story is be careful what you say. Your words may live on long after you’re gone. 🙂