Friday, September 05, 2008

Jane Myers Perrine



Please allow me introduce a very neat lady. Jane Myers Perrine is nice, witty, and even if she doesn't take people out the way some of us do, you're going to enjoy reading her wonderful stories. Take it away, Jane...


I’m a little different from the terrific writers on this blog. I don’t kill people. I’m NOT saying that fictional murder is bad. Christie, Gemma, Kathy, Leslie and Jana bump off people with great skill and humor. I’m just saying that none of my characters have done that—yet.

Right now, I write inspirational fiction although murder may not be far off. My career started with three novels published by Avalon Books. Then I signed with Steeple Hill Love Inspired. My third Love Inspired is out the first of September; my fourth, in January.

I was wondering what to blog about and decided: PETS. In DEEP IN THE HEART (September, 2008) the heroine has a buff cocker spaniel—she’s on the cover—modeled greatly on our buff cocker Daffodil (we went through a let’s-name-our-pets-after-flowers stage). In the January book, SECOND CHANCE BRIDE, the heroine has a skinny, fussy cat much like my husband’s skinny, fussy cat Dolly Gray.


I grew up without pets of my own. My sister had a turtle and a parakeet, both of which died in peculiar ways and at an early age. Because a turtle is not a pet one can cuddle with and take for walks and the parakeet didn’t really like people, they weren’t completely satisfactory as pets. And they weren’t mine.

I married a wonderful man who grew up with animals all over a huge yard in Pewee Valley, KY. For awhile his sister bred pulik which are Hungarian sheepdogs, amazingly smart animals with prehensile claws. I inherited Andy and discovered how wonderful and loyal dogs are—and funny. Since then, we’ve had dozens of pets. Because of all the dogs, cats, birds and a zillion furry little creatures our son loved, a friend called our house the Louisville Zoo. As you may have guessed, we lived in Louisville at the time.


But since I have to narrow my choices, I’m going to write about our peach-cheeked love birds.

My husband is a much more romantic person than I and gives wonderful and thoughtful presents. One anniversary, he surprised me with a pair of peach-cheeked lovebirds. Beautiful birds, the peach not only covers their cheeks but tops their heads and runs down their throats. They’re about seven inches in length with lovely two inch tails and vibrant blue plumage under the green feathers on the body.

Such a romantic gesture.

Because I taught Spanish for so many years, I named them Don Quixote from the classic Cervantes novel, and Dulcinea, Don Quixote’s fantasy love. For months, the birds sat in their huge cage, chirped and cooed. Some days, they’d bob up and down their perches and show off their colorful feathers. I always thought this was some sort of mating ritual but it could have just been a fun way to exercise. At night they fell asleep next to each other, cuddling close.


However, all didn’t turn out well for these two. One day we came home from work to discover that Don Quixote had a wound on his lovely peach cheek. Dulcinea had attacked him. The owner of the pet store said it could be that we had two males. Lovebirds are very hard to sex (meaning, of course, to tell what sex each is), and two males together could get aggressive.


My husband likes to say they got a divorce after that. I prefer to explain that they separated. We got a cage for Dulcinea and placed it next Don Quixote’s. They didn’t seem to mind a bit. I also changed their names. The one with the injury we named Scarface, after the Al Pacino character. Dulcinea was renamed Bone Crusher, after the then-successful boxer Bone Crusher Smith.

Their lives moved on fine. They cooed to each other—from separate cages. They slept next to each other, touching feathers and heads through the bars. They bobbed back and forth on their perches, strutting (or bobbing) their stuff. They just no longer lived together.


Yes, life passed happily until Bone Crusher got sick. Listless, he no longer bobbed or chirped or cooed. I took him to the vet. Once I signed in. I sat the packed waiting room with the huge cage on my lap. After ten minutes, the receptionist called, “Bone Crusher Perrine.” I stood and carried the cage across the waiting room in complete silence as people realized that Bone Crusher was a small, green bird. Then everyone laughed.


The vet prescribed bourbon. No, I’m not kidding. Yes, we lived close to Bourbon County, KY, but the vet said a little bourbon on her seeds should perk her right up. So I went to a liquor store and asked what kind of bourbon was best for a lovebird—well, in the interest of accuracy, that last sentence isn’t true.

Now comes the sad part. A few weeks later, when I took the cover off his cage, Scarface lay dead. A couple of mornings after that, I found Bone Crusher dead, her head under the seed dish.



George swears she committed suicide because she couldn’t go on without Scarface. I don’t know what happened, but I missed the narrow and perfectly straight strips of paper they’d rip from the cage liners and toss through the bars onto the floor—along with piles of seeds. I missed their beautiful peach faces and their bobbing dances. I even missed their loud, raucous screeching.
But most of all, I missed their cooing to each other like lovers in a novel, just from separate cages.

Jane Myers Perrine had lived and collected pets in many states, but has now settled with her husband and two cats—Maggie and Scooter the Wonder Cat—in Cedar Park, TX. Visit her at jane@janemyersperrine.com

19 comments:

MaryF said...

Jane, I'm so not a bird person, but I love this story! Bourbon? And Bone Crusher Perrine?? LOLOL!

Donna Maloy said...

So nice to see you here, Jane. I've never owned a bird, but your vivid description makes me itch to find one as colorful as Bone Crusher.
Donna Maloy

Tori Lennox said...

LOL re Bone Crusher's name!

Hey, I used to live in Cedar Park eons ago. Small world. :)

Colleen Thompson said...

Enjoyed reading about your vet's office experience and your lovebirds' revised names!

In the same spirit, if I ever get a fuzzball, foo foo lap dog, I'm itching to name it Cujo. :)

Faye Hughes said...

Jane,

Great blog, and great stories about your lovebirds. (Bone Crusher . . . okay, I'm giggling at the image of you with a small green bird in a cage in the vet's waiting room. LOL.)

Faye

catslady said...

awwww that was very touching. Not so sure the vet knew what he was talking about but maybe they went out happy :) I've had two dogs that lived long lives and one cat that did too and currently have 6 cats inside and take care of ferals outside lol.

Christie Craig said...

Jane,

I loved this post. As most everyone knows, I'm a pet person. Now, I'll admit I haven't bonded with my son's rats, but just about everything else ends up finding its way into my heart.

CC

Estella said...

Enjoyed the tale of your lovebirds.
I cannot remember a time when I didn't have pets.
At the present time I have 5 house cats---ages 19, 18, 18, 11, and 11.All but one were born on our property.

Jane said...

First of all, you have to understand that technology has passed me by. I can only hope this comment makes it on KILLER FICTION.

Mary, birds can be amazingly fun. They do have different personalities and my cockatiel loved to take a bath in my sink and have her feathers blown dry. Try one!

Donna, how lovely to ee you! As I said, birds make great pets--if you don't have a cat.

Jane said...

Look, it worked. Christie helped me with this.

Tori, you'd be amazed how Cedar Park has changed. Our apartment is next to the 183 toll road and the area is booming.

And HI!, Colleen. Thanks for dropping by. I wanr you about naming pets. I never thought I'd have to take Bone Crusher to the vet.

MaryF said...

Jane, how funny about your bird that liked a blow-dry!

I'm a cat girl - I have 4.

Jane said...

Faye, it's the sitting there with all the people around and KNOWING the receptionist will call your name and you'll have to walk through with a bird named Bone Crusher that' the rough part. The anticipation. Thanks for stopping by.

Jane said...

Catslady, I wondered about what the vet said, too, because lovebrids crack the seeds open and don't eat the outside. I asked but he assured me it would help. Besides, a lovebird-sized bottle of bourbon is very cheap.

Bless you for taking care of ferals. I have a friend who traps them and takes them to the vet to be neutered.

Jane said...

Estella, five cats! I don't know how you handle that. Our present cats are littermates, but always before when we had cats that weren't related, they really fought. You must take very good care of them to have three such old ones.

Christie, my husband brought his lab rat home. The rat's name was Ferd. That is one animal I never wamred up to because he bit and tossed his cage lining all over.

Jane said...

Hey, again, MaryF--it took me a while to realize you're my friend MaryF! Four cats--wow. Our two keep me busy.

Some day I'll have to write a story about Goldie, the cockatiel.

MaryF said...

LOL, Jane! Yup, it's me.

My kitties are all rescues except one, who is the daughter of a rescue (her mom was pregnant when we got her.)

Christie Craig said...

Jane,

You make me sound so computer literate by saying I helped you. Shh, don't tell anyone but I called Faye and asked how you were supposed to do it. Seriously, I so totally blonde when it comes to computers.

Thanks for posting.

CC

Jane said...

Aah, MaryF--so all of your cats are related which means they probably get along okay.

Our two are rescues also and probably the cutest animals in the world. Not, however, the smartest.

Jane said...

But, Chrisite, you DID help me--it took asking another person, but you did it.

However, I pormise never to say another good thing aboutyou if that helps. ;)