BONGO MARIE: Inviting Strangers Into the House
by Sally Blanchard
When I lived in Alameda in the SF Bay Area, I had a neighbor who was pretty grouchy but she liked my parrots especially my late great grey, Bongo Marie who was an incredible talker. Although I had people taking care of my animals if I was gone overnight, she would still watch my house. One afternoon, an older group from a religious denomination came to my door. They'd been to her house first and she didn't like them so she was watching them carefully. They rang the bell and then knocked. Then one of them opened the screen door and tried to go into my house. My neighbor called the police on them (as if the police had nothing better to do than to investigate a group of elderly religious people trying to "break in"?) The small group was down the street when the police reached them and asked them why they tried to enter my house. One of them said that they were very concerned because they heard someone calling to them, saying "Hello, Good to see you." They thought it was a shut-in who couldn't come to the door so they tried to open the door. The policeman came back and reported their worry about the shut-in in my house to my neighbor. Of course, it was then when she realized what was really happening and told the policeman that it was my parrot, Bongo Marie and they both had a good laugh about it. Of course, the older religious proselytizers had no idea who had fooled them.