Aug 19, 2011 - Sad news today. Betty died.
Betty was a cockatiel - our Club Ed mascot who enlivened our lobby starting in 2005. In recent years she lived in the home of former Club Ed secretary Dee Dee Sheridan. Dee Dee called this morning to report the loss of our squawk-ative friend.
In memory, below is a reprint of the story of Betty's Great Escape (and retrieval) in 2007. Now she has escaped for good.
Betty's Great Ed-Venture
by Phil Houseal, Director
Kerrville ISD Community Education
Originally published Sept 5, 2007
Most folks know and love Club Ed's tropical theme. It evolved as a way to show that learning is fun. Over the years, we've added flamingos, beach scenes, and palm trees to the decor at the Auld Center.
About two years ago we thought it would liven up the place if we had a cockatiel. A trip to Pets & More brought us "Betty," the Club Ed bird.
For two years, Betty was content perching in our lobby, helping Dee Dee answer the phone and greet customers. On nice days, we would set her outside in her cage (Betty, not Dee Dee), to soak up the sunshine.
But this summer, tragedy struck. On a day that turned out to be not so nice, a gust of wind knocked the cage off the rock ledge. The door flew open, and Betty - bless her birdbrain - flew out.
She ended up on the lowest branch of the tree in our front yard. We proved horribly inept at bird rescue. The more we tried, the higher in the tree she went. We pulled out the big ladder, and a ridiculously small butterfly net. At my last desperate attempt, Betty cocked her head, blinked, and flapped off across the street to a taller tree.
We were devastated. All weekend, we left the cage hanging in the tree, door ajar and tempting birdseed scattered inside. Dee Dee checked back every day, but Betty was gone.
Monday, the lobby seemed too quiet without Betty. Every time a flock of dove buzzed our window, we rushed outside, thinking we had seen our bird. But it was not her.
Exactly one week after the great escape, I could stand it no longer. Back to Pets & More, I bought a darling white parakeet. Triumphantly I strode into the office, hiding the prize behind my back.
"I have a surprise," I announced.
"So do we!" they screamed. "We found Betty!"
Betty's rescuers were the Davis family. Jesse Davis had spied her on the roof of a neighbor's house. The former resident of Key West had lots of experience with exotic birds, and by whistling and wheedling, he patiently had coaxed Betty off the roof, onto a wire, down to a fence, and onto his hand, which she immediately bit.
"She was just so upset, and ruffled, really terrified of the environment," he said. "I just whistled to her. She felt comfort in me, she came down, I grabbed her and brought her home."
So Betty is back. In her week in the wilds along Tivy Street, Betty had traveled all of three blocks, flocked with doves, and bit the hand that caught her.
We've clipped her wings. And it may be our imagination, but it seems she looks out the window with a little less yearning.