President Budgie

Oh dear, I have to use the carpet sweeper around his darn cars, the three year old me’s mother of three dolefully thought to herself. The caboose showed up nine years after she thought she was done. She never should have given her husband that birthday present nine months before the caboose was pulled kicking and screaming into their familie’s rail yard. She certainly wouldn’t have given her husband the gift of herself if she had known he was more than a few years older than she had thought through two decades marriage.

Life is full of surprises.

What is President Eisenhower talking about now she thought noticing the round screen television.  Sure his Generalship had brought back her husband safe from the Normandy invasion, but now she questioned whether she was grateful or not for that fact. Sometimes she was . Sometimes she wasn’t.

“Peter. move you toys off the rug and go out and play on the screened porch.”

Peter looked up and obeyed with out speaking. She wished his older brother and sister would spend more time playing with him, but she did not push that too hard. That may make them resent the caboose even more. She finished sweeping the carpets as The President droned on  and on and on TV. For a military hero he was sure boring. But boring was good for her generation. After The Great Depression and World War Two boring was just fine with her and many Americans.

She went in the kitchen and found the child playing in the doorway. He seemed fascinated by the cracked tiles that separated the kitchen from the screened back porch. The unfinished back porch she thought dolefully and accusingly. That shanty Irishman she married never finishes any of these household projects. Why didn’t she marry a carpenter like her father had been.

Just as she completed her thought that he was no good either Peter piped up gibbering about “Tommie”.

The only Tommie she knew was her mothers parakeet. She looked out the unfinished back porch window to the small coach house where her mother lived with her pet parakeet, Tommie.

To this day I still recall as my first memory a picture in my mind of that budgie while I played in that doorway . The bird too.


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