The Butler Did It

birdAs I sat in traffic this afternoon I noticed the sign on the pick-up in front of me: “Butler Landscaping”.

I chuckled to myself and was immediately taken back 28 years to the day Mom and I picked up our first pet, a parakeet.

I must have been about four years old, but truth be told, even being so young I actually remember bits and pieces from that day. What I don’t recall vividly I’ve picked up along the way, mostly from Mom, who must have told the story dozens of times at family picnics over the years.

We stopped at the supermarket on the way to the pet store. I held mom’s hand as we walked up and down the isles. Normally, I’m sure I’d be begging her for candy but not on that day. On that day I was content knowing that in a little while I’d have my own pet..

As the story goes, Mom bumped into someone she knew and began talking. I took the opportunity to explore and, before I knew it, Mom was gone and I was lost.

Like any 4-year-old, I began crying. In between sobs, for some reason or another, I took note of the voice coming over the store intercom:

“Will John Butler please report to the produce isle. John Butler to the produce isle for customer assistance.”

A few seconds had passed and a woman noticed me standing in the isle alone, crying.

“What’s the matter,” she asked.

“I can’t find my mommy,” I said, in between sobs.

“Did you come in the store with her,” the friendly lady asked.

I nodded yes.

The woman assured me that everything would be alright and she held out a friendly hand, which I instinctively latched on to.

The lady led me to the service booth.

“This boy lost his mother,” the lady informed the clerk.

“What’s his name,” the clerk asked.

The woman turned to me with a smile.

“What’s your name kiddo,” she asked, warmly.

For reasons that remain unknown to this day I responded with the first thing that popped into my head.

“Butler,” I said, repeating the last name of the guy paged over the intercom minutes earlier.

The lady looked at me strangely.

“That’s an unusual name,” the lady said. “Just Butler?”

I didn’t respond. The lady turned to the clerk and said something. The clerk then reached for the intercom.

“Will the mother of Butler please report to the service desk. We have Butler here at the service desk looking for his mother.”

Within moments my mother was at the desk, hugging me and crying. She didn’t really hear what the clerk said over the intercom, she only knew I was missing and only needed to hear the words “looking for his mother”.

“Are you Butler’s mother,” the lady asked.

“His name is Walter,” my mom said, hugging me.

An hour later I sat in the back seat of mom’s car. In my hand a small brown box with air holes on the top. Inside, my very own pet. A white parakeet with the most perfect name in the world, Butler.


2 Responses to “The Butler Did It”

  1. I think I have heard this one before but it never gets old. It’s about time you finally posted it.

  2. Funny…if Aidan didn’t have my last name, that would be his. Ironic too since the first pet he ever had was a parakeet you gave him for Valentine’s day without asking first. I hated you that day.

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