A mechanic and his macaws

The mechanic and his macaws.

STAR - Steve Green decided to become an auto mechanic when, at the age of 17, his mom was ripped off by one.

He promised his mom he wouldn't let that happen again. It's a testament to his dedication to that promise, that 41 years later he's still crouching under cars.

For the last 15 years he's been in business in Star. Steve's Auto Care has all the stuff you'd usually see at a small-town repair shop, including a dog.

But what's usually perched out front is what some would consider kind of odd: A pair of macaws named Murphy and Bubba.

Steve says he's had macaws for more than a third of his life. Now the caretaker to four of them, it's not clear who is more attached to whom.

"Yeah, you silly bird," Steve says to his scarlet macaw, Ruby, who whistles at him while playing peek-a-boo. Meanwhile, Murphy and Bubba have been the blue-and-gold and greenwing greeters.

The amicable animals have been overlooking Star's main drag from the shop's sidewalk for the last 10 years.

"They love it, they just love it out there," said Steve.

That was about the same time Steve's life started over.

"June 29 I celebrated 10 years clean and sober," he said.

Steve says he spent 30 years as a functioning alcoholic, not that he always functioned well. It cost him a couple of wives and businesses over the years. But one day about a decade ago, he woke up, went to work, and barely remembers anything else.

"One of my technicians found me sprawled on my desk," he explained. Doctors told him his liver had shut down and the next day he went from the hospital to rehab.

During those 30 days, Steve says his first bird he'd had for 17 years stopped eating without him around and died. Alcoholism had taken one more thing from Steve.

"You know, I'm glad it happened there, while I was in rehab because that would have been a pretty big trigger, you know," he said.

In treatment, Steve was told to wait at least a year to start a relationship or get a pet. He held out for about nine months before doing both.

"I just like their personality," he said about the birds.

Steve calls Murphy, who he raised from an egg, his "sober bird" and he admits surrounding himself with family, feathered or otherwise, has helped the grandfather of three stay dedicated to staying sober.

So that's why, when the weather's nice, you won't ever drive by Steve's Auto Care in Star without seeing the mechanic's colorful macaws.

In fact, the winged greeters have become such a staple of Star, they've been in the city's Fourth of July parade for the past five years.

The locals wouldn't have it any other way.

"That's not the weirdest thing about Star," said one passerby. "Yeah, it's actually kinda normal now."

 

© 2017 KTVB-TV


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