Spook’s Gift of Gab!
After making my recent comments regarding “civility,” I decided to recant my opinion of my supposed nemesis, Spook the crow, and his role at Faded Glory Farm. First, let it be understood that although I sometimes harrass Spook, I certainly don’t hate him. He definitely takes a lot more ‘heat’ around here than I do. Isabel gets very upset when she has to clean up his messes. Micah has been known to quip, “When his cage door is left open, Spook comes out a’ poopen.”
In an attempt to be objective here, I have to admit that I realize that Spook doesn’t really talk; he blindly repeats phonetic sound bytes that he has heard in the past. In order to do that, Spook doesn’t necessarily have to have a highly developed brain; all he needs is his beak, his tongue, and a good memory. We all know that Spook doesn’t have a highly developed brain, but he really does have a good memory!
There probably isn’t an animal on earth that doesn’t secretly envy other species that can talk. When Ray was alive, he had his mischievous side, and he trained Spook to repeat all kinds of nasty little phrases. Now Spook commands a vulgar verbal vocabulary that would make a hooker blush.
Actually, many of Spook’s problems are derived from OUR unrealistic expectations. Common human logic would suggest that “if he can TALK, he must, therefore be intelligent. There’s a fault in that logic! If I followed that logic, I would certainly come running every time he decides to call “Homer!” When Spook starts calling “Homer,” I don’t vacate my comfortable spot on the rug and come a’runnin.’ I simply assume that he has recently overheard Isabel on the telephone using the word “home,” and he began calling for “Homer.” To him, the two words are similar. Won’t I be disappointed on the fateful day when I sleep through his rendition of “Fire! Fire!”
As troublesome as Spook sometimes seems to be, I have never seen him do anything nasty or mean. If you refer to his crapping on Isabel’s pristine overstuffed furniture as nasty, I guess he is guilty of being “nasty.” But, in the great scheme of things, he might be considered an ‘innocent.’ After all, let’s not forget that he is just a bird. It’s a shame that Isabel can’t fit Spook with a diaper.
Amazingly enough, whenever Spook manages to weasel his way into the kitchen, he seems to leave the food alone; and even though he occasionally crawls up onto the shoulder of a guest, I have never seen him relieve himself while on that sacred territory. To the best of my knowledge, Spook has never pecked at, or bitten, one of our guests.
Spook seems to prefer women guests to men, probably because he is attracted to the jewelry they wear; you know, earrings, necklaces, engagement rings and such. If you don’t watch him, he will try to steal your ‘bling,’ but most folks who know him, already understand that he’s a common thief. Thank goodness Spook doesn’t possess the sense of smell that I do! The perfumes, colognes and after-shave lotions that our guests sometimes wear would probably do him in!
Since Isabel was set straight last year by the good doctor from Athens, Dr. Chastain, she no longer refers to Spook as her Mynah Bird. Spook no longer retains that elevated title and has since reverted to the role of a common crow. Lately, he has been known to waddle around the perimeter of my food bowl grabbing small morsels of dogfood that have accidentally dropped onto the floor. It must be okay for his diet because I have yet to hear him bark. Because he has been around here so long, I purposely cut him a little slack; and, I don’t try to chase him away from my dish. Actually, he helps to keep my area neat. I, like Isabel, have learned to forgive Spook his ‘trespasses’ and coexist peacefully with him whenever possible.
Sometimes when I gaze over at Spook going about his antics, I realize that Spook and I are alike in many ways. We are both foundlings of sorts, and we live at the pleasure of our kind and generous friend, Isabel Whitlow. She is aware of our flaws and weaknesses, and she loves us anyway; and we eagerly accept her love and positive reinforcement. This, in human-speak, is called unconditional love, but Spook and I both know better than to ‘push it.’ We are just animals, but we return her love in so many ways. All in all, I have to admit that Spook is truly a phenomenon. He has cheated death (thanks to Ray Whitlow and Dr. Stubbs), he has mastered human speech, and he has managed to become a major curiosity for visitors to Faded Glory.
Although Spook is a bird, he can’t fly, his planned ‘speaking engagements’ are limited to our weekly Guest Appreciation Happy Hours, and, thank God, he is caged at night. Things could be a lot worse. When you come right down to it, we’re all on the same boat; life, gotta love it! I’m a pretty fortunate fellow, I’d say!