I came to dislike parrots after becoming a resident of Colombia, South America. Domesticated parrots were generally named Roberto or Margarita, depending on their sex. Obviously I didn’t like all those goofy looking creatures compared to me. Since the birds took up residence in Colombia before I, it appeared my parents named me after the parrots of the country. Regardless of my feelings, many families had the talkative feathered creatures in their homes.
Despite my disdain for parrots, I have heard of two parrots of interest that merit remembering. In the early 1930’s many families held prayer meetings and worship services in their homes. One such family lived in a suburb of Cali, Colombia called Cascajal. Bernice Barnett Gonzales tells of attending a worship service, also attended by the family parrot. The first hymn sang was “Wonderful Words of Life.” Much to the surprise of all the visitors the parrot sang the word clearly and in perfect tune. However, when the hymn ended and a prayer begun, it was obvious that this was a singing and not a praying bird. Finally, the owner had to remove “Roberto” from the service to the patio garden where the bird sang until all the congregation had long departed. and the owners covered the bird for a good night of sleep.
The second parrot, I met on a visit to a small town in the coffee region of Colombia. I often stayed with Virgelina and Manuel during my evangelistic campaigns to the area. Virgelina always served a breakfast second to none.
No one knew how to make a “perico” like no other—just the right amount of onions, tomatoes and cilantro, folded into the eggs and cooked until just beyond unhealthy. Lay that on a plate with a couple of slices of farmer’s cheese, a crisp arepa smothered with butter, homemade chorizo, and who could ask for anything more? Ah! And, to drink, piping hot chocolate. These were the moments I wondered why I was getting paid as a missionary.
As I finished my breakfast Virgelina always brought her loro to the table for its breakfast. Come to find out, the medium-sized green parrot had never learned to eat by itself. Virgelina raised the bird from the time it hatched and began serving the bird with a tiny coffee spoon and later graduated to a teaspoon. The bird was three years old but would not eat from a seed tray like most birds. It waited for an indulging parent to feed it.
Think about these two parrots! There are both positive and negative lessons from them. I will leave you to extract their message for you.