Salty, my Panama Amazon is my roommate and my best friend. Up until three
months ago we lived in Manhattan together, hut now we live in sunny California.
Salty has his own little apartment in my little apartment. His cage sits atop my file cabinet and next to the TV, which he watches whenever it suits him.
Salty and I have been together now for 28 years. We grew up in Massapequa, Long Island, N.Y. When I was seven years old, my father took me to a local pet store and I saw Salty. He flirted with me calling, "Pretty Girl."
It was love at first sight. For a mere $60, we purchased Salty and his cage -a bargain that has brought me years of enjoyment.
Being a Panama subspecies, Salty probably originated in Central America. He spoke a bit of Spanish when we got him and was, perhaps, less than a year old.
Compared to other Amazons, Salty is small hut he makes up for it with a big mouth and large vocabulary.
Salty came home to meet two older brothers, my mother, sister, cats, and our St. Bernard, Barney. Soon Barney knew better than to mess with Salty or he'd get his nose nipped. Salty is still
looking for Barney, calling "Here Barney, here Barney." I-le doesn't realize he's outlived Barney by 16 years.
Salty had his family favorites. He would fly to my father when called CI clipped his wings only this past year to take him to bird club meetings and parties). He always knew my voice and loved to impersonate me. He would yell out my name when I approached. Salty was never completely tame and must not have been handfed. We nicknamed his alter ego Chesney McNasty. I advise friends not to stick fingers in his cage, hut if they sit quietly I put him on their shoulder which he enjoys.
One day, my mother had someone come to wash the windows in the house. Salty was looking out over the balcony to the hay beyond our backyard. He started saying, "I love you" and whistling. The window washer looked around for my mother and when he saw her he winked and started giving her the eye. My mother quickly straightened out the situation and told him the amorous advances were not coming from her, hut our overzealous parrot.
Salty once escaped in Long Island.
He flew out the window when my parents were away. My brothers and I rode our hikes around the neighborhood frantically searching for him. We shouted his name in desperation. A few blocks away we heard some chatter coming from above. Blending in with the leaves was our cheery Amazon. My brother, Steve, had to climb the tree, coax Salty onto his arm and bring him to safety.
When I was 15 and Salty was eight,