Letter, Feb. 18, 2014
Date posted: February 18, 2014
‘Chicken man’ duty
provided breakfast, pastries
Re: Brother Geoff
Imagine, if you will, a cardboard facsimile of a B-movie robot, stalking across the chicken yard carrying a bucket in each hand. One bucket contains chicken feed and the other has a soft towel in the bottom to cushion whatever eggs the cardboard Frankenstein can manage to gather before disaster strikes.
The kids in our family all had jobs depending largely on age, size and convenience of availability. The older boys cared for the larger livestock, the middle kids got the pigs and those younger ones coming of age got the chickens. As younger members moved into the “entry level” chicken job, everyone else got to move up a notch.
I was definitely not sad to lose my job milking the cows to the next in line but the promotions were in serious jeopardy when our ferocious red rooster found out he could take down and beat up our youngest brother, Geoffrey. Immediate action was necessary to correct this problem because mom declared that the loss of the egg harvest would have serious repercussions on things like breakfast, pies, cakes and such. Very bad news for growing boys. So, with the fear in their hearts that they would be losing their new jobs, my brothers constructed “armor” for brother Geoff.
The suiting-up was nearly completed when Geoff announced he needed a bathroom break (pre-battle jitters, no doubt) but the job, finally completed for good, revealed serious articulation problems. The adjustments were rather hurried before the “knight” inside the suit needed another potty break.
The squires cheered on their warrior, lurching purposely onto the battle field but rather than a head-on attack, the feathery foe elected a sneak attack from behind. Once down, Geoffrey could do little but flail like an upside-down turtle. The thunder of drumming wings and feet must have sounded terrible inside the suit.
The arrival of rescue drove the rooster off only a short distance where he stood ready and primed for a repeat performance. That opportunity never arrived. The boys had not noticed mom return to the house and did not realize she came back with a “final solution.” The shotgun blast stopped old red in mid strut. The “armorers” were ordered to get the water boiling for the de-feathering process. “Yes ma’am!” was the correct thing to say to my mom when she was standing with a hand on one hip, and smoke curling from the gun barrel in her other hand.
If you want to see someone really bristle, just call my brother Geoff, “chicken man.” Give him another 10 or 20 years, and he may decide the whole incident was pretty funny after all.
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