Entertaining Angels: Life Comes Full Circle Edition

 

I had a peripatetic childhood, and by the time I finished high school I’d attended well over a dozen schools on three different continents, with time off for good behavior during a glorious year (in about third grade) where there wasn’t a school anywhere in sight. My mother, who was largely disinterested in her parenting responsibilities for most of her life, wasn’t really into the idea of homeschooling, and so I spent most of that year loafing with what few little English friends I had, and playing with the children of the Nigerian house staff. The following year I resumed school somewhere else, in the appropriate grade, with apparently no ill effects at all.

At some point though, when I was bored or lonely, I learned to find refuge in books.

I remember reading only one really childish picture book, although surely there were more. That book was Little Chick Chick, a tiny paperback about a small chick who disobeyed his mother, got himself lost, and ended up spending the night all alone in the pouring rain, hiding underneath an empty tomato soup can by the side of the road. Fortunately for my own mother’s sanity, his mother hen retrieved him the next day, slapped him upside the head with her wing, and all ended well. But before this happy outcome, and at each sight of poor Little Chick Chick shivering and desolate next to the tomato soup can, the two-year-old me would cry floods and floods of inconsolable tears.

Eventually, my mother became so rattled by my outbursts that she took to hiding the book. She would hide the book. I would find the book. She (and subsequently I) would read the book. And off I would go, into uncontrollable sobs, again.

And then, she consigned Little Chick Chick to the flames and that was the end of that. (About fifteen years ago, I found a copy on eBay, and so we’ve been reunited. And yes, I, a 50-year-old woman, cried like the child I once was, the first time I read it then, too). Poor Little Chick Chick. (You can read the PDF of the book I wrote, printed, and bound for my granddaughter’s third Christmas here. Tucked into a pocket on the last page was my newly-acquired, but still precious, copy of Little Chick Chick. Life goes on, and the circle closes.

Again, and again.

So. There I was this afternoon, out for my regular 2 1/2 mile jaunt down to the end of the road, left along the stream bank, and then turn around at the first intersection and then back home. (A few of you reading this have walked this walk with me once or twice.) There’s often some interesting wildlife to observe, most usually taking the form of beaver, mink, muskrat, deer, and a selection of water birds ranging from kingfishers to geese to heron to hawks to several varieties of duck. A companionable walk when, on the rare occasions these days there are two of us, but even alone it’s refreshing and interesting.

Today, though, just before I got to the “T” at the bottom of the road, I noticed a stirring in the bushes to my right. So I stopped. And waited. A few seconds later, out emerged two of the sorriest specimens of gallus gallus domesticus I’ve ever seen. Bedraggled. Frostbit. Thin. Desperate.

And friendly.

So friendly I could totally imagine taking them home with me. Poor little chick chicks. And not even a tomato soup can in sight. But, not having much chicken experience, I was a bit leery of the idea of grabbing them, sticking one under each arm, and marching up the hill towards home.

So I did what any sane person in my neck of the woods would do in such a circumstance. I got out my phone, and called my dear friend and neighbor, Randy M. He’s so much better than Ghostbusters, trust me.

And, as usual, he didn’t fail. “I’ll be down shortly,” he said.

I sat down at the side of the road and started chatting to my new friends. While I was waiting for Randy three delightful elderly neighbor gentlemen driving pickup trucks (two of whom I’d never met–the gentlemen, not the pickup trucks) stopped to chat. None of them seemed to find my behavior in the least odd. I love this place.

Soon, Randy appeared in his own pickup, bearing a wire crate and, as usual, impeccable wisdom and rational sense. “Ah, the chicken whisperer,” he said, as he came out to greet me. He showed me how to grab the beasts, and we shoved them into the crate. In a bit, I’m going up to his place to get some feed, and he’ll tell me what I need to do over the next few days to see if I can bring these guys back from the edge.

Meanwhile, Ugg and Bugg (I think they’re both cocks, pretty sure in the one case, not-so-much in the other because its head and comb is in such a sad state) are in the workshop settling down.

And the population count at Chez She has grown by two. I don’t mind a bit. Once they’ve recovered a bit from their ordeal, I’ll figure out what “gender” they are, and even what race, color, or ethnicity. Doesn’t matter. They’re here, and they’re safe. And that’s what’s important.

True story follows: So (again). There I was, just yesterday, on the phone with a friend, talking about the rather diffuse and sometimes disorganized (and–woke points!!!–diverse) inhabitants of Chez She. “Have you ever considered chickens?” he asked. “Have I ever!” I replied. “Certainly for the last several years, but somehow, when it came right down to it, life always got in the way.” “Still,” I continued, “I’d like to try it this year, and my friend Randy said that he’d provide a few fully grown hens and a cock to get me started, as he doesn’t recommend starting with the babies. So, perhaps this year, it will happen.”

I reiterate, this conversation took place less than 24 hours ago.

Sometimes, the Good Lord just wants you to have chickens.

PS: Not the first time I’ve “Entertained Angels.” Other posts can be found here, here, and here. First time I’ve tried it with fowl, though.

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  1. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    My best friend and her husband lived in WY for six years; she was anxious for a more rural lifestyle. He was indifferent but found a job in a small town that qualified.

    The first thing she got were chicks. About 12 I think. I followed their life with annual visits. Around year 4; no chickens.

    I asked where they were; she had given them all away. She said she had done nothing but keep them warm and fed while expecting nothing in return. But every time she came near, they ran away in horror. She just couldn’t take the rejection anymore. 

    • #1
  2. Gary McVey Contributor
    Gary McVey
    @GaryMcVey

    A lovely, quirky bit of personal history! Good job, She! 

    I’ve always been fond of small chicks. Of course, I’m five-seven, so it’s not as if I had a huge amount of choice in the matter. 

    • #2
  3. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    Various vendors can set you up with chicks from $2.25 to $5 a piece, though there’s usually a minimum order.

    • #3
  4. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Percival (View Comment):

    Various vendors can set you up with chicks from $2.25 to $5 a piece, though there’s usually a minimum order.

    LOL. Yeah. I swear the four-footed beasties have a system, sort of like the hobos of yore, wherein they direct each other my way. Most popular? I think, this one:

    (Be advised: This no longer works so well when offered by a two-foot who can’t fly.)

     

    • #4
  5. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Gary McVey (View Comment):

    A lovely, quirky bit of personal history! Good job, She!

    I’ve always been fond of small chicks. Of course, I’m five-seven, so it’s not as if I had a huge amount of choice in the matter.

    Smoochies from a 5’10” Amazon, @garymcvey. And thanks.

    • #5
  6. Dr. Jimmy Carter Member
    Dr. Jimmy Carter
    @JimmyCarter

    • #6
  7. SkipSul Inactive
    SkipSul
    @skipsul

    In the fall of 2019 we were at a picnic at a church friend’s house. She’s a farmer, and lets her chickens more or less have free range of the place. This does mean that you have to check carefully under your car and in the wheel wells before you leave (not just for the birds, but for her roving cats too). She has a young son – I think he was about 2 1/2 or 3 at the time. Anyways, he loved those chickens and would grab them and give them hugs. Evidently they are used to the handling, for later on one of his uncles arrived, scooped up one of the hens, and carried her around with him for a long time as one might a quiescent cat.

    They’re funny birds. In the 1950s, before zoning laws banned such things, my mother and her siblings raised chickens in their suburban backyard – they were gifts from a farming aunt. Completely different. The hens were indifferent creatures, but my uncle had a malicious rooster who would attack any who came near. My grandmother, finally fed up, served the rooster for dinner to my distraught uncle.

    • #7
  8. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    SkipSul (View Comment):

    In the fall of 2019 we were at a picnic at a church friend’s house. She’s a farmer, and lets her chickens more or less have free range of the place. This does mean that you have to check carefully under your car and in the wheel wells before you leave (not just for the birds, but for her roving cats too). She has a young son – I think he was about 2 1/2 or 3 at the time. Anyways, he loved those chickens and would grab them and give them hugs. Evidently they are used to the handling, for later on one of his uncles arrived, scooped up one of the hens, and carried her around with him for a long time as one might a quiescent cat.

    They’re funny birds. In the 1950s, before zoning laws banned such things, my mother and her siblings raised chickens in their suburban backyard – they were gifts from a farming aunt. Completely different. The hens were indifferent creatures, but my uncle had a malicious rooster who would attack any who came near. My grandmother, finally fed up, served the rooster for dinner to my distraught uncle.

    I had a cousin who once pointed out that Sunday dinner with our grandmother was morally instructive. Grandma (all 5′ 2″ of her) would chase down the entrée, grip it by its feet, put her foot on its head, and give a jerk. “It underlined the transitory nature of our existence,” cousin Carolyn opined.

    • #8
  9. OmegaPaladin Moderator
    OmegaPaladin
    @OmegaPaladin

    I grew up in a small town, and eventually lived in a small rural subdivision. Yet it was not until I moved to Chicago that I regularly heard a rooster. My next door neighbors had kept a very vocal pct rooster. In a very urban dense neighborhood.

    • #9
  10. JoelB Member
    JoelB
    @JoelB

    I had a peripatetic childhood, and by the time I finished high school I’d attended well over a dozen schools on three different continents, with time off for good behavior during a glorious year (in about third grade) where there wasn’t a school anywhere in sight. My mother, who was largely disinterested in her parenting responsibilities for most of her life, wasn’t really into the idea of homeschooling, and so I spent most of that year loafing with what few little English friends I had, and playing with the children of the Nigerian house staff. The following year I resumed school somewhere else, in the appropriate grade, with apparently no ill effects at all.

    I had to laugh at those who wrung their hands about how detrimental it would be for children to miss a couple of months of school during the “pandemic” and how they would “fall behind” and have reduced incomes for their entire lives. Some ridiculous study even put a number on this.

    With some of our schools these days it would be for the better to have a gap year.

    • #10
  11. Annefy Member
    Annefy
    @Annefy

    JoelB (View Comment):

    I had a peripatetic childhood, and by the time I finished high school I’d attended well over a dozen schools on three different continents, with time off for good behavior during a glorious year (in about third grade) where there wasn’t a school anywhere in sight. My mother, who was largely disinterested in her parenting responsibilities for most of her life, wasn’t really into the idea of homeschooling, and so I spent most of that year loafing with what few little English friends I had, and playing with the children of the Nigerian house staff. The following year I resumed school somewhere else, in the appropriate grade, with apparently no ill effects at all.

    I had to laugh at those who wrung their hands about how detrimental it would be for children to miss a couple of months of school during the “pandemic” and how they would “fall behind” and have reduced incomes for their entire lives. Some ridiculous study even put a number on this.

    With some of our schools these days it would be for the better to have a gap year.

    I don’t entirely disagree with this. However, a “gap” year in normal times is quite different than what children are suffering today; no parks, no libraries, no sports, no play groups.

    I still don’t remember my “nines” timestable, as I had the chicken pox that week. I think the school that many have missed, and continue to miss, is going to reverberate for years and years to come. And Not in a good way.

    • #11
  12. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Annefy (View Comment):
    I still don’t remember my “nines” timestable, as I had the chicken pox that week.

    Oh dear. I was out for two weeks of my senior year with mumps. I wonder what I missed.

    • #12
  13. Percival Thatcher
    Percival
    @Percival

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):
    I still don’t remember my “nines” timestable, as I had the chicken pox that week.

    Oh dear. I was out for two weeks of my senior year with mumps. I wonder what I missed.

    I had the mump once. Not the mumps. Just one side of my neck swelled up. I was five. It was bad enough that I missed being taken to the Joffrey Ballet to see “The Nutcracker” by my grandmother. I had to stay home with my grandfather and watch the Bears. Gale Sayers was playing.

    I think I had a better time.

    • #13
  14. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    Percival (View Comment):

    JustmeinAZ (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):
    I still don’t remember my “nines” timestable, as I had the chicken pox that week.

    Oh dear. I was out for two weeks of my senior year with mumps. I wonder what I missed.

    I had the mump once. Not the mumps. Just one side of my neck swelled up. I was five. It was bad enough that I missed being taken to the Joffrey Ballet to see “The Nutcracker” by my grandmother. I had to stay home with my grandfather and watch the Bears. Gale Sayers was playing.

    I think I had a better time.

    I think you did too. The older you get the worse they are.

    • #14
  15. Randy Webster Member
    Randy Webster
    @RandyWebster

    SkipSul (View Comment):
    They’re funny birds. In the 1950s, before zoning laws banned such things, my mother and her siblings raised chickens in their suburban backyard – they were gifts from a farming aunt.

    I’ve been told, but haven’t checked to make sure, that in Tennessee, HOA’s, cities, and counties can’t make it illegal to keep chickens.

    • #15
  16. JennaStocker Member
    JennaStocker
    @JennaStocker

    A lovely story. Life is so amazing that a young child’s compassion even for a fictional character shapes how she sees the world as an adult. Maybe another simple passerby didn’t even notice the distressed birds, but who did was the one who needed to saw what she was supposed to see.

    • #16
  17. Susan Quinn Contributor
    Susan Quinn
    @SusanQuinn

    You are such a dear heart. Those chick-chicks could not have found a better home. Apparently G-d knew that!

    • #17
  18. JosePluma Thatcher
    JosePluma
    @JosePluma

    Me and one of my brood.

    • #18
  19. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Well, I’ve upgraded the chicken’s living quarters to a larger crate, where they’ll have to remain for a bit until I decide what to do about building a small henhouse. They’re quite friendly, seem used to people, and don’t fight with each other (which does make me wonder if they are a rooster and a hen–still not sure, although the difference in their plumage, if they’re actually the same breed, might tend to that conclusion.

    Speaking of their plumage, @josepluma, thanks for the photo you included above. Do you happen to know what breed these two might be, or if they are, in fact, a breed?

     

    They’re not familiar to me either as a breed, or as chickens that I’ve seen in anyone’s yard around here. Most of those are rather pedestrian. The “fancy chickens” I know of are all far enough away that I find it unlikely they’d have just wandered off the property and ended up where they did. So no idea how they got to just down the road from me.

    They look in better shape in the photos than they actually are, I think. Beneath all those feathers, they’re very scrawny, and judging from the amount of water they’ve been drinking, must have been quite dehydrated. Still, at the moment, they seem quite content, and are doing pretty well.

    • #19
  20. Front Seat Cat Member
    Front Seat Cat
    @FrontSeatCat

    Little Chick Chick should be read by every parent to their little ones, along with Peter Rabbit and all of Grimm’s Fairy Tales. I have a copy of 50 Famous Fairy Tales, from the 1950’s, as does my sister. No one knew I had severe food allergies growing up – dairy – wheat soy. I gulped down lots of hot Ovaltine and ate my Sugar Smacks – heading off to school, then occasionally passing out cold reciting the Pledge of Allegiance. I would get hauled off to the nurse’s office and sent home, a check up followed and no one could figure it out.

    My dad used to sit beside a low level night lamp and read those stories to me, sometimes while I had bronchitis and needed help to sleep. I was woken up and given spoonfuls of salt water to stay hydrated. It wasn’t until my later years that I realized I had food allergies so severe, they could be life threatening.

    Little Chick Chick and innocence of children are under a life threatening assault. Your story talks about innocence. I love old children’s books. There is a bigger story here – the necessity of family – parents’ involvement in their children and protecting their innocence.

    • #20
  21. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Annefy (View Comment):

    My best friend and her husband lived in WY for six years; she was anxious for a more rural lifestyle. He was indifferent but found a job in a small town that qualified.

    The first thing she got were chicks. About 12 I think. I followed their life with annual visits. Around year 4; no chickens.

    I asked where they were; she had given them all away. She said she had done nothing but keep them warm and fed while expecting nothing in return. But every time she came near, they ran away in horror. She just couldn’t take the rejection anymore.

    Then there was another woman who had one and only one chicken. A lovely hen, who was her constant companion. Rode about on her shoulder while she did daily chores, cuddling with her when she took her breaks. Rather like a beloved dog.

    Her husband killed that chicken, although I don’t remember how or why. In return, she found his gun and shot him.

    • #21
  22. CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill Coolidge
    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill
    @CarolJoy

    Annefy (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    I had a peripatetic childhood, and by the time I finished high school I’d attended well over a dozen schools on three different continents, with time off for good behavior during a glorious year (in about third grade) where there wasn’t a school anywhere in sight. My mother, who was largely disinterested in her parenting responsibilities for most of her life, wasn’t really into the idea of homeschooling, and so I spent most of that year loafing with what few little English friends I had, and playing with the children of the Nigerian house staff. The following year I resumed school somewhere else, in the appropriate grade, with apparently no ill effects at all.

    I had to laugh at those who wrung their hands about how detrimental it would be for children to miss a couple of months of school during the “pandemic” and how they would “fall behind” and have reduced incomes for their entire lives. Some ridiculous study even put a number on this.

    With some of our schools these days it would be for the better to have a gap year.

    I don’t entirely disagree with this. However, a “gap” year in normal times is quite different than what children are suffering today; no parks, no libraries, no sports, no play groups.

    I still don’t remember my “nines” timestable, as I had the chicken pox that week. I think the school that many have missed, and continue to miss, is going to reverberate for years and years to come. And Not in a good way.

    Nines table is actually the easiest of all the tables once you know the trick.

    Everyy multiplication answer adds up to nine.

    One times nine is nine.

    Two times nine is 18 and 1 + 8 = nine.

    Three times is 27, and 2 + 7 = nine.

    Four times 9 is 36, and 3 + 6 = 9.

    Five times 9 = 45, and 4 + 5 = 9.

    And so on. So if you make a rough estimate, and it doesn’t end up to adding up to 9, you need to guesstimate again.

    • #22
  23. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    Annefy (View Comment):
    I still don’t remember my “nines” timestable, as I had the chicken pox that week.

    The “nines” are a lot of fun! Here’s one little hint: Each answer of the nines, the digits add up to nine!! 1 x 9= 9 2 x 9 = 18 3 x 9 = 27 4 x 9 = 36 5 x 9 = 45 6 x 9 = 54 7 x 9 = 63 8 x 9 = 72 9 x 9 = 81

    Also, if you wrote those answers in a vertical line, you’d see that you can count from 1 to 9 going down the tens column, and then from 1 to 9 going back up the ones column.

    And—for each answer, the tens digit is one less than the number you’re multiplying by 9—

    5 x 9 = 45 (4 is one less than 5)

    7 x 9 = 63 (6 is one less than 7)

    Okay…I’ll stop now. The nine times table is my best/only math skill. Seriously….I prefer to teach writing. 

    • #23
  24. Cow Girl Thatcher
    Cow Girl
    @CowGirl

    She (View Comment):
    They’re not familiar to me either as a breed, or as chickens that I’ve seen in anyone’s yard around here. Most of those are rather pedestrian. The “fancy chickens” I know of are all far enough away that I find it unlikely they’d have just wandered off the property and ended up where they did. So no idea how they got to just down the road from me.

    Maybe they were being used in cock-fighting and escaped. There is a problem with that in the neighborhood where I live in Las Vegas. Occasionally, there will be a dead fancy looking bird like those found lying alongside the street because someone carelessly dumped it. I live in a funny part of Vegas–you can have horses, goats or chickens in some of the properties around my neighborhood. So I hear crowing or baaing now and then. And we have horse riders using our bike lanes quite often. It’s not the glittery part of Glitter Gulch–and I love it! 

    Good luck with your new friends! 

    • #24
  25. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Cow Girl (View Comment):

    She (View Comment):
    They’re not familiar to me either as a breed, or as chickens that I’ve seen in anyone’s yard around here. Most of those are rather pedestrian. The “fancy chickens” I know of are all far enough away that I find it unlikely they’d have just wandered off the property and ended up where they did. So no idea how they got to just down the road from me.

    Maybe they were being used in cock-fighting and escaped. There is a problem with that in the neighborhood where I live in Las Vegas. Occasionally, there will be a dead fancy looking bird like those found lying alongside the street because someone carelessly dumped it. I live in a funny part of Vegas–you can have horses, goats or chickens in some of the properties around my neighborhood. So I hear crowing or baaing now and then. And we have horse riders using our bike lanes quite often. It’s not the glittery part of Glitter Gulch–and I love it!

    Hm. I’ve not heard of anything like that around here, but I suppose it’s possible. I’d have thought chickens bred for that would be quite aggressive though, and these guys (gals?) are not aggressive at all, quite the reverse–almost overly friendly.

    Good luck with your new friends!

    Thanks!

    • #25
  26. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    Then there was another woman who had one and only one chicken. A lovely hen, who was her constant companion. Rode about on her shoulder while she did daily chores, cuddling with her when she took her breaks. Rather like a beloved dog.

    Her husband killed that chicken, although I don’t remember how or why. In return, she found his gun and shot him.

    Yikes.

    • #26
  27. Skyler Coolidge
    Skyler
    @Skyler

    Is this the book?

     

    • #27
  28. JustmeinAZ Member
    JustmeinAZ
    @JustmeinAZ

    CarolJoy, Not So Easy To Kill (View Comment):

    Annefy (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    I had a peripatetic childhood, and by the time I finished high school I’d attended well over a dozen schools on three different continents, with time off for good behavior during a glorious year (in about third grade) where there wasn’t a school anywhere in sight. My mother, who was largely disinterested in her parenting responsibilities for most of her life, wasn’t really into the idea of homeschooling, and so I spent most of that year loafing with what few little English friends I had, and playing with the children of the Nigerian house staff. The following year I resumed school somewhere else, in the appropriate grade, with apparently no ill effects at all.

    I had to laugh at those who wrung their hands about how detrimental it would be for children to miss a couple of months of school during the “pandemic” and how they would “fall behind” and have reduced incomes for their entire lives. Some ridiculous study even put a number on this.

    With some of our schools these days it would be for the better to have a gap year.

    I don’t entirely disagree with this. However, a “gap” year in normal times is quite different than what children are suffering today; no parks, no libraries, no sports, no play groups.

    I still don’t remember my “nines” timestable, as I had the chicken pox that week. I think the school that many have missed, and continue to miss, is going to reverberate for years and years to come. And Not in a good way.

    Nines table is actually the easiest of all the tables once you know the trick.

    Everyy multiplication answer adds up to nine.

    One times nine is nine.

    Two times nine is 18 and 1 + 8 = nine.

    Three times is 27, and 2 + 7 = nine.

    Four times 9 is 36, and 3 + 6 = 9.

    Five times 9 = 45, and 4 + 5 = 9.

    And so on. So if you make a rough estimate, and it doesn’t end up to adding up to 9, you need to guesstimate again.

    Good grief. I think it’s just easier to memorize the darn things.

    • #28
  29. She Reagan
    She
    @She

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Is this the book?

     

    Yes.

    • #29
  30. Hang On Member
    Hang On
    @HangOn

    She (View Comment):

    Skyler (View Comment):

    Is this the book?

     

    Yes.

    I missed this one. Tbe Little Train that Could was my go to book that got me to read at 4.

    I must also say chickens and birds in general aren’t my favorite. There’s a bird feeder in back, but they’re fine to look at but don’t want to go near them. Blame it on Hitchcock.

    • #30