Bubba was behaving badly. Oh, very badly indeed. When Manny called him, Bubba would turn his back and flare his black-tinged green feathers in an act of calculated avian obstreperousness. Manny explained that parrots go through adolescence just as humans do, and not a darned bit more civilly.

Bubba had once been quite affectionate, but that was then. Just think of him as a typical snotty teenager, Manny said.

Then he went back to cutting my hair. After a while — Manny was almost done with me — Bubba complied at last with Manny’s repeated beckoning’s and flew up to perch on his shoulder. I told Manny he needed an eye patch and a peg leg. He wasn’t amused. I think Bubba’s foul temper had rubbed off on him.

Ah, the island vibe. It’s good to be back, repatriated to Texas and the Houston area. An islander once more. I’m B.O.A.I. (born on another island), and Galveston feels like home.

On Sunday afternoons, I sit on the gallery with a wee dram and a fine cigar, watching the palms sway and soaking up the briny breeze. When you combine a great spirit with a great smoke, great thoughts are almost inevitable.

We arrived a little more than half a year ago. One of our first forays took us to the home of a fellow named Phil, who had a TV stand for sale. He asked how we like it here, and we told him we like it fine. He said he did, too. “Just don’t cross that bridge,” he warned, his face turning dark as a storm cloud. “I never go to Texas.”

As much as we admire Phil, we like to allow for intelligent exceptions. When Hurricane Laura menaced, we traipsed up to our daughter’s house in Spring. Alex buttoned up the house for me, slapping on the plywood shutters I’d commissioned from him.

Alex doesn’t have a parrot, but he compensates with lots of tats. Even by contemporary standards, lots of tats. He was working at our house one day with his helper Joe when someone knocked on the door. The guy was wearing a “U.S. Marshal” shirt.

“I’m taking him in,” said Mr. Marshal, hooking his thumb toward his big, black SUV (just like in the cop shows) parked in the middle of the street. “It’s not real serious, but he’s got to see the judge.” A few hours later, a bailed-out Joe was back. With a story. He said they’d rousted his mom, too.

You know the difference between truth and fiction. Fiction has to make sense.

That island vibe, nothing like it. I took my great-grandson, Kimo, who’s 4, to our hangout on the seawall and he said, “This place is chill.” The whole island is.

The posted speed limits are polite suggestions and a muffler is an accessory. Whatever. I figure when the revolution starts we can blow up the bridge and exist on fish and bananas. We have a tree in our backyard. Bananas, that is.

Ed Fowler lives in Galveston.


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