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  • Writer's picturePanthergirl

The best snowstorm story I've got

When we lived in Brooklyn in the mid-90s, we had two parakeets: Guido and Rudy. Unusual for a parakeet, Rudy could talk and it was pretty hilarious. He'd say things like "Lemme out, goddamit!" and "Beam me up, Scotty!". If one of us had a bad cold we'd suddenly hear Rudy "coughing".

One fateful morning we approached the cage and Rudy was puffed up like a big snowball (this isn't the snow part of the story. Bear with me.) Below him lay Guido, dead as a doornail. My nine-year-old daughter Emma was devastated (but at least she didn't have to spend the night with the corpse as Rudy had). She put Guido in a little box, took him out to the backyard of our brownstone, and buried him. Then she sent him a postcard, addressed to "Quido, Heaven." (She never could pronounce "Guido". Some Italian SHE is!)

A few months later, Rudy was acting strangely. My husband Tony took him out of the cage and instead of flying around, he walked on the kitchen table like someone failing a sobriety test. Seeing his distress, Tony cradled him and sadly, the bird died in his hand. Emma wanted to bury Rudy right next to Guido, but this was the winter of 1994 in New York City (snowstorm after snowstorm) and about 3 feet of snow, old and new, blanketed the backyard. What to do...what to do...

Tony got some plastic wrap, wound it tightly around the stiff little body of Rudy, and put him in the freezer to keep him preserved until we could give him a proper burial. Every time the snow was about to melt we got slammed with another storm. We knew that Rudy's internment would have to be postponed until Spring.

A few months passed and I got pregnant, so we made plans to move from Brooklyn to Greenwich, Connecticut so I'd be closer to my job when the baby came.

A few weeks after the move in July, I bolted upright in bed one night and yelled: "RUDY!!!!" Yep...we had moved out of the house in Brooklyn leaving a Rudy-sicle in the freezer for the new tenants. After absorbing the horror of our mistake, we could not stop laughing. “We found a dead parakeet in the freezer" was probably the best story at that family’s Thanksgiving dinner that year.

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