OK… Right off the bat, introductions of sorts are in order.
The Cast of Characters
Exhibit One: My daughter, 22-year-old university graduate, planning to make aliyah (i.e. emigrate to Israel) in the very near future.
T.A.: Exhibit One’s Israeli boyfriend from the seaside city of Ashdod (south of Tel Aviv). Surfer dude. In Canada for a visit.
Exhibit Two.: My son, 19-year-old university student, presently on end-of-year break.
S.G.: My significant other (a.k.a. SigOth, a.k.a. girlfriend)
(Bentley – Der Meshigineh Hint)
Bentley (Der Meshigineh Hint): (Yiddish: The Crazy Dog): My son, Exhibit Two’s dog… a bizarre cross between a Labrador Retriever and a Mastiff. Big, slobbery, overly-friendly, über-snuggly, has no concept of personal space, and nosy to a fault.
Rina: An ill-tempered parrot. Presently residing at the house of my girlfriend, S.G. (see above), it belongs to a Rabbi of our mutual acquaintance.
Scene: SG’s House (Toronto)
‘Twas the night before Hanukah and all through the house, not a creature was stirring…
Yeah, right… and then I woke up!
My dear darling SigOth, SG, had the kind-hearted and generous, yet misplaced, hospitality to invite me and The Kiddie-Winkers (i.e. Exhibits One and Two, along with my daughter’s boyfriend, T.A.) over to her house for a pre-Hanukah family get-together with her and her kids, BE and ES.
It sounded like such a good idea. The extended-blended Fam coming together for a warm, cozy, haimish (i.e. homey) evening. What could go wrong?
The fly in the proverbial ointment, the wrench in the works, the banana peel on the sidewalk, as it were? The Livestock.
And I’m not referring to the rodent rodeo down in the basement… the assorted rabbits, gerbils, etc.
I’m referring to two unexpected animal guests… Bentley (The Hound of the Baskervilles) and Rina (The Squawker that Devoured Cleveland!
(Rina – a bird with NO sense of humour)
SG was bird-sitting for several days while Rina’s owners were out of town.
Exhibit Two didn’t want to leave Bentley home alone because, when left to his own devices, Bentley leans toward the ‘destructive when bored.’
Rina lives in this elaborate and quite large bird palace. Rina is known to squawk rather loudly and enthusiastically.
Exhibit One is not a fan of loud noises, especially of the sudden and unannounced variety. Oh, and did I mention that Exhibit One also has a mild case of ornithophobia?
Rina is usually confined to her spacious and well-appointed cage, constantly aware of her surroundings, especially the people near her. Bentley, on the other hand, basically wanders around in a kind of stunned cloud of his own making.
I suppose a clash was inevitable but I did not expect it to be so sudden. No sooner had Bentley entered SG’s house than he strolled over to the Parrot Palisades to check out the occupant in his own inimitable ‘up close and personal’ manner.
Bentley is not a small dog. Huge pretty well sums him up.
(Bentley’s honker before Rina’s impromptu rhinoplasty procedure)
Rina, always in a foul (no pun intended) mood, upon seeing Bentley’s oversized schnozz giving her the olfactory once over, wasted no time in expressing her displeasure. Her can-opener of a beak was clamped onto Bentley honker in a flash, leaving no doubt in his mind as to who the alpha animal was in SG’s house.
I am sure the neighbours all heard his piteous cries of pain and surprise.
Exhibit One jumped vertically, a good 18 inches clear of the sofa cushions. A personal best. Luckily, TA was nearby to catch her on re-entry.
BE and ES said words to the effect of “Holy Smokes! Did you see THAT??”
Exhibit Two executed the perfect Face Palm.
SG and I merely sighed and shook our heads.
Oh, there’s no place like home for the holidays!
Wishing everyone a wonderful holiday season. May it be filled with good times together with friends and loved ones!
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