BONGO MARIE:Playing a Mute Statue
by Sally Blanchard
Early in my wonderful friendship with Bongo, I discovered that I could teach her responses to the statements I made. For example, if I said “Cat got your tongue?” in a quiet monotone and then meowed dramatically, she would not learn the boring part but would learn the meow I did louder and with enthusiasm. She learned dog barks, turkey gobbles, duck quacks, howler monkey chatter, Kookaburra calls, chicken clucks, pig grunts, and many more all in response to statements like “you’re in the dog house” or “wanna play jungle” For years, she entertained me and my friends with these animal imitations that she did on cue. But that changed when I was being interviewed for a newspaper article about my Rare Hardwood Inlay Bird Sculptures. I wanted Bongo Marie to show off for the reporter. I sat there like an idiot in front of the reporter saying mindless things like “nice weather for ducks” and “the sky is falling” and Bongo stood there on her cage like a dud saying absolutely nothing. She did a very good imitation of a mute statue. Finally, as the reporter was leaving, Bongo meowed and I said: “Cat got your tongue?” Then my genius grey said “Gobble, gobble, gobble” to which I replied, “Hey, Turkey.” After a few more of her cues with my responses, the reporter commented that the parrot had actually trained me quite well. When the woman left, I thanked Bongo Marie for making me feel like a fool - again!