One Christmas when I still lived in Durban, I flew to George to spend the holiday with my family. Because Mum and Dad’s house was so full of guests, for my first four days before Christmas I slept in the back room with my nieces, Kirsten and Sarah. Oh yes, forgot to mention a vital point…..Pandora, my cockatiel, always came with me. So while I flew normal economy class, my poor Angel was put on with the baggage. As the baggage disappeared from view she shrieked the entire way and two hours later as I stood in George airport waiting to collect my luggage, I gave a joyful sigh as I heard the familiar shrieks emerge with the baggage once more. Pandora had arrived intact and was letting the world know. So I must amend that sentence. I shared a room with Kirsten, Sarah and Pandora. What a Goon-show!
On Christmas Eve, Mum very kindly said: “Should I take Pandora through to your room for you?”
“Thanks, Mums,” I was in the middle of a discussion with Dad. “And then could you cover her for the night.” It was Pandora’s normal time for bed – 10.30pm. So Mum and Pandora duly left and I continued talking.
Now in order for this story to have any impact I must first describe our house’s layout from the lounge to my room. It is a large lounge which you leave by turning left into the dining room. Then left once again and you find yourself in our kitchen. Which is large! Mum is “in haar noppies” because at long last she owns a BIG kitchen. Then you go down a passage which in turn passes the shower and loo until finally you reach the bedroom of Kirsten, Sarah, Pandora and Gaynor.
Fine the plot is laid out and now the story can begin! Da Da Da Duuuuuuummmmmmmm……….Just some slightly suspenseful music to get you in the mood. (I can see your smile beginning, admit it!)
About half an hour later I got up from the chair I was sitting in and went to kiss Dad goodnight. I took a step then turned back to him to make a final remark. That was when I heard it.
There at my ankles was Pandora! I looked at her in stupefaction. How had she managed to get out of her cage? Even more important to my way of thinking: How had she managed to find me? Well, okay, I did speak fairly loudly at that time, this is pre-cochlear implants, so she must have simply followed the sound of my voice. But she was only able to walk. Just before the holidays I had cut her one wing. I often had her out her cage and I wanted to make sure that she was completely landlocked, if you know what I mean. Have you ever seen a cockatiel walk? It’s actually amazingly cute. They waddle from side to side. But it takes a total age for them to move any distance! Now here was Pandora, who had promptly travelled half the house to find me. And…..wait for it…we had two large cats who often regarded Pandora sitting in her cage, literally pulling a tongue at them, with great feline avidity.
Mum was nearly in tears when I tackled her about it.
“But I shut the cage. I would never leave it open. And then I covered her….”
I actually believed Mum. So I have no idea how Pandora escaped and set off on her mission. And no, Kirsten and Sarah were dead to the world. I said to my parents: “I just thank God that one of the cats didn’t devour her. If that had happened I would probably have spent Christmas in a mental home!”
My Mum didn’t find that remark very funny (after my accident she was told by one doctor to ‘put me in an Institution and forget she ever had a daughter!’), but at that moment humour was the furtherest thing from my thoughts!
But can you believe it? My Angel-Face escaped and found me!
I loved that little golden bundle of joy!