Dan had a Mexican
Yellowhead Parrot. He ordered it from the "Snake King" who was
a character whose animal importing business was just a stone's throw
from the Matamoros/Brownsville Bridge. He was famous in his day,
and he made millions sending animals all over the U.S. before anyone
gave a thought to hygiene, disease, or animal cruelty.
Dan paid $10 for the bird and one dollar freight. He picked it up
from the Railroad Express Agency car right there in Granger.
The floor of the handmade cage had enough sunflower seeds to last
to Chicago, if that had been necessary.
The bird was named Senor until an egg appeared one day in the cage.
She then became known as Senora. Senora would perch in the tree
in Dan's front yard on her swing, singing to herself and screaming
at squirrels to get out of the street. She would turn somersaults
in rainstorms, enjoying every minute before Dan would run out and
put her in her covered cage. Local cats gave the bird wide berth,
after witnessing a near evisceration of the Martinets' family cat.
Many times a little Mexican woman would come into the yard and talk
to the bird. It probably reminded her of Mexico. She would pass
Dan's house on her way to buy groceries and kerosene for her stove.
She carried an old-fashioned round ribbed can for the kerosene,
and prevented spillage by placing a raw potato over the spout. Dan
remembered her in detail because of her huaraches and her salmon-colored
A Mr. Luna later told Dan that the woman had been born in the time
of the Mexican Empire of Maximilian and Carlotta. She was
said to have been the head cook for one of "Poncho" Villa's
Armies. If the first figure was correct, (both Max and the Empire
ceased to exist in 1867), she would've been in her early 40s during
the Mexican Revolutionary Period.
Her name was Carmen Antonia Miranda. Many years later after Dan
had moved to Dallas,
he was visiting Granger and at a party asked a Spanish-speaking
group if they knew what had happened to the old woman. They weren't
responsive until Dan described her outfit and the kerosene can plugged
with the potato. She was the family matriarch, they said, but she
had since passed away. Dan later found her headstone and did the
math. She died at the age of 110.
While we're on the subject:
Mrs. Martinets passed away last year at the age of 104. She was
in a nursing home, but only after her 102nd birthday. One of the
home's residents (who wasn't in his right mind) slapped her face
for some reason. Mrs. Martinets stood up in her wheelchair and slapped
him back. Bravo! Encore!