January 13, 2008
January 20, 2001 was a happy day for the Clem household. It was on that cold, snowy day that we bought a young male canary to serve as a companion to our first canary, "Goldie." Since it was Inauguration Day, it seemed logical to name the new guy in our home after the new president, hence "George." Less than two months later, Goldie died, after which we bought a female canary we named "Princess." She and George got along wonderfully over the next few years, and their "romantic liaisons" were a delight. Even though I haven't had any blog posts about Princess and George over the last few months, they have been happy and content, as Princess flirted [in the window] with the outside birds and George sang occasionally.
I should say, rather, that Princess and George had been happy and content. While I was out of town last week, I am sorry to say, George passed away quite suddenly. For our family, January 2008 will be remembered with great sadness and mourning.
George lived with us for nearly seven years, which is a full life by canary standards. He was in fine health, and I really thought he was going to live through the end of his namesake's term. Unlike his namesake's father, he loved broccoli. Like Princess, he eagerly munched on basil flowers and cabbage flowers like we would eat chocolate candy. He took full advantage of his "cageless" freedom to fly around our home, and we had to duck so many times that I put up a traffic sign. He was always quite a show-off, singing loudly and hogging the limelight. His vocal abilities were astounding, as he would often sing his intricate, varied repertoire for several minutes almost without interruption. Jacqueline called him "my Bocelli," as in Andrea Bocelli, the Italian tenor. George was also quite the explorer, which is why we called him "Curious George." He would often fly into my office and watch me work, especially when I played bird songs or his own voice on the computer. Once he even posed in front of my RFK Stadium poster. Two years ago, he got into the habit of flying into our bathroom and perching on the shower curtain rod, where he could doze off in seclusion. Though perhaps less concerned with hygiene than Princess is, he nevertheless took a bath almost every day. During the summer molting season, he would often sit in the sun and fluff up his feathers. Year after year, George maintained a romantic attachment to Princess, and no one would doubt that he was handsome indeed. I could go on and on about all the amusing things he would do, but it would probably bore a non-pet owner, so I won't. You would have had to have met him to appreciate what a character he was. Believe me, birds do have unique personalities.
In church today when we sang "Praise God from whom all blessings flow," I thought about George and what a wonderful blessing he was to our lives. He brought great happiness to Jacqueline and me, and he leaves us with many, many warm memories of delightful companionship. To say that we will miss him very much is quite an understatement. Princess continues to call for him, apparently not yet understanding or accepting that George is not going to come back. It is poignant beyond description.