The stress of helping to get my daughter settled into a new job and living arrangement took an unexpected and pleasant turn on Saturday afternoon. Driving through the middle of this small town, my attention was suddenly drawn to a man mowing his lawn. He wasn't alone.
You see, Matt Swartz had a companion on his right shoulder. Powder, a white cockatoo, rode along as Matt pushed, pulled, turned and navigated the mower around the lawn of his Broad Street home.
"Powder was a rescue bird," said Matt said during a break to satisfy this stranger's curiosity. "I found him on the Internet and had to go to the Maryland border to get him. I actually went down and got him on Halloween night five years ago, and he talked to me the whole way home."
The origin of Powder's ride-along is not hard to imagine, once you see how active he is and how much he enjoys the attention. "I was out doing my yard work one day and he was sitting in his window," Matt said. "I happened to look over and saw him wave to me and thought that was really cute. So I waved back to him, and he waved again and said 'Hi' and kept that up. So I thought I would bring him out here with me, and I was planting some flowers in the flower bed and kept him on my shoulder and he just walks up and down your back the whole time you're working.
It wasn't too long after that when Matt decided to see if Powder would mind the noise of a lawn mower. Amazingly, the cockatoo barely even ruffles a feather when Matt re-starts the engine after our conversation.
"If he's not with me he gets a little excited," Matt says about his companion. "So, I put him on my shoulder to mow the lawn and he loves it. He talks to me the whole time I'm doing it. It's his thing. He's my best friend.
Matt says helping to mow the lawn isn't Powder's only hobby. He also likes 80s music, and is said to sing and dance along to his favorite songs. But that's play-time. This Saturday afternoon was a time of outdoor work for both Matt and his feathered-friend, who together spared 15 minutes to make a stranger smile.
To see more video of Powder helping Matt mow the lawn, click here: http://bit.ly/1l1jjEi
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