Way back in the olden days (1987), we had purchased a big old home and I wanted desperately to get rid of the sea-foam green walls that were throughout the downstairs.  My grandfather was a painter by trade and also did wallpapering, so my mom had access to all of his tools of the trade.  My parents agreed to teach me how to wallpaper, and it was decided that the dining room would be first.  It was a cool Sunday in the spring when the lesson would commence.  We went to church and skipped Sunday dinner in order to get a decent start time wise.  When we moved out the furniture before church that day, we put our parakeet Buster’s cage on the floor in the living room.  I was not a big lover of pets in the house, and figured how much mess could a parakeet be?  I swear Buster knew this fact, because every time I would get close to his cage, he would flap his wings and fly around.  This, of course, sent feathers and birdseed all over my clean floor.  I am also sure I saw him give me the “evil eye’ several times.  I had a “pet” nickname for him, and it started with a B and it wasn’t Buster……

We arrived home after church and began carrying all of the supplies into the dining room.  All of the sudden we heard a blood curdling scream from my oldest daughter, who was 6 at the time.  We ran into the living room and there Buster was….flat on his back….little legs in the air…deader than a doorknob.  She looked at me with pleading eyes, knowing I was a nurse, and wanted me to do something.  I told her he was beyond attempting CPR and that he had gone to birdie heaven.  Now, not to sound heartless, but I really wanted to get moving on this wallpapering lesson, so Buster got the last laugh that day.  We decided to bury him under the sycamore tree, and after the hole was dug, it was time for the graveside funeral.  Buster was laid out in our best shoe box, complete with a small scrap of fabric to keep him warm, a newly created  crayola picture, some bird seed and a hot wheels car.  My son Ricky was 4 at the time, and he said “It was in case Buster needed to get around in birdie heaven.”

Mom and I stayed on the back porch and quietly watched the service.  My 2 beautiful, loving children were on their knees, with their head bowed and hands folded, still in their Sunday clothes.  They and their dad (the grave-digger) said a few words and finished off with the Sunday School song they had learned that morning.  Loudly they belted out “Joshua Fought the Battle of Jericho” while choking back tears.  The one problem is that Ricky didn’t really understand the song, so he sang “Joshua Fought the Battle of Cherry Coke”.  While it was a funny mistake, we women on the porch could’t laugh because we too were crying.  RIP Buster………


2 responses to “Buster

  1. Oh my, I still tell people about singing about Joshua fighting the battle of cherry coke! To this day, that is still one of my favorite Sunday school songs!

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