Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Emma Jean

For 20 years, I lived beside a lady who raised birds.  She had an aviary and there were usually over 600 birds in residence in her yard.  She had everything from tiny finches to large macaws.  Early each morning, I would awaken to noises that sounded like a Tarzan movie!
She and I became good friends and for my birthday one year, she gave me a set of peach-faced love birds. Since so many people named their pairs Lucy and Desi, I decided to name mine Emma Jean and Sidney (after Sid Caesar and Imogene Coca).  They were so precious and such fun to watch!

A few years later, my neighbor presented me with an egg to hatch on my own.  It was an Indian Ringneck egg and I was so nervous and excited about this gift.  Finally, she called me one morning and told me to pay attention to the egg that it would hatch that day.  Sure enough, Hadji was "born" that morning!!!
Love birds don’t have as large of a vocabulary as ringnecks do.  When I would take food to them, Emma Jean would yell her name and get so excited.  After a while, Hadji began to associate “Emma Jean” with food and start saying it when he wanted something you were eating.  He still does this.  Although he has quite a good vocabulary, he still insists on the meaning of “food” as “Emma Jean”.  (When Sidney died, Emma Jean only lived for 3 days more.  Lovebirds mourn themselves to death when they lose their mate.  When Hadji would start yelling her name, it broke my heart.)
I was thinking about the way we associate words and meanings.  When most people think of hug, it is a good thing.  When people with MS think of hug, it is a terrible thing!  When most people say they are tingling, it means they are excited or in love.  When MS people say they are tingling, it is a feeling that can be anything from unpleasant to downright painful.  I guess it is all in how you look at things and what things you are going through at the moment as to what emotions you get when you hear certain words.
As it is, we are used to “Emma Jean” meaning food.  The pain of losing Emma has lessened and I have only good memories of my two silly lovebirds that were once a part of my household.  Now, I  have a spoiled Pomeranian and a ringneck clown.....which is more than a handfull some days!! :)


Muffie said...

Oh those birds are beauties!! You're so right about word association -- connotation is everything!

Janie said...

Thank you! I love my bird and get such enjoyment from him. I really miss Emma Jean And Sidney, but they are in Birdie Heaven and OK!!!