06/30/06 — 'No parrot for you, Sinbad'

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'No parrot for you, Sinbad'

By Gene Price
Published in News on June 30, 2006 1:48 PM

In his younger days as Beaufort's resident "pirate-privateer," Capt. Horatio Sinbad felt he needed one more thing -- a parrot.

And retired Coast Guard Commander John MacCormack, who was donating his time to the Maritime Museum, had a parrot. It's name was "Captain Bilgewater."

The parrot had some difficulty talking. It wasn't an impediment. It was confusion. The salty old Coast Guard officer was trying to teach Capt. Bilgewater to swear; while his daughter, Gloria Price, was encouraging the parrot to quote Scriptures.

Capt. Bilgewater's occasional exclamations resembled neither scriptures nor cuss words. And it didn't matter. The parrot wasn't for sale.

When Commander MacCormack died, Capt. Bilgewater came to live with the Prices at Sleepy Creek near Goldsboro.

And one evening, young Capt. Horatio Sinbad showed up there. "I want to buy Capt. Bilgewater," he implored Gloria.

But she couldn't part with her father's parrot.

Sinbad, head hanging in dejection, left.

Capt. Bilgewater, who apparently understood the language better than he squawked it, must have shared Sinbad's dejection.

He died a few days later.

And Gloria Price has never forgiven herself for not giving Capt. Bilgewater to Capt. Horatio Sinbad. She reflects on how appropriate the parrot would have looked, perched on Sinbad's shoulder.

They were meant for each other.