Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My Pet Chicken. . .

Easter of 1962 I was 5 years old. At that time Wichita had a wonderful amusement park called Joyland. It had been here since 1949 and was certainly Wichita children’s favorite destination.

Along with a magnificent wooden roller coaster, there were lots of attractions for kids of all ages. School kids got to go there for play nights and at the end of every school year Joyland threw a scholarship party. You got so many tickets for A’s, B’s, and C’s and it was true incentive to get good grades.

One of the favorite things for the community was the Easter party each year. They had egg hunts and the year I was 5 the prize for taking part in the hunt and finding 5 or more eggs was a live baby chick.

I was thrilled – and let’s clarify that my parents weren’t. But I hunted those eggs and found my 5 and turned them in proudly for that chick. I was ecstatic about it, my very own chick, which I named Chickee. I was going to love it and take care of it and everything I promised.

And I did and that chick grew into a lovely chicken. It would follow me around the yard and run at us kids and we’d yell and scream in excitement. I thought that chick was the best pet any kid could ever have.

I didn’t understand why I couldn’t take it to bed with me at night – after all, my dog Pepper could sleep on my bed, why couldn’t Chickee? My mom patiently (and I’m sure more than once) explained that Chickee needed to stay outside, that she wouldn’t be happy in the house, but when you’re 5 you don’t really understand that. I did try to sneak Chickee in, more than once but I could never convince her to keep quiet and my mom and dad always found her and took her outside.

Of course, as she got older she was more prone to wandering the neighborhood. My grandpa C was designated chief chicken wrangler and there were times he had to look high and low for that chicken.

He had always lived with us, at least as long as I could remember and he was the neighborhood ‘Pop’ to everyone. He had lots of Native American blood and just had a different way of looking at things, especially nature. He taught me about rocks and trees and flowers, about the stars in the night sky, so it seemed perfectly expected that he be Chickee’s keeper.

One day, towards the end of the school year, Chickee was a few months old. I went off to kindergarten and when I came home Chickee was gone. They told me that she had wandered off again and that grandpa couldn’t find her.

I felt so sad and I remember crying so hard because I loved her so much. She had been my friend, companion and I was the envy of the neighborhood kids because I had my own chicken. I felt inconsolable.

Mom cheered me up though. She made my favorite dinner that night – fried chicken!


Rachel said...

What a nice story Hope! The ending cracked me up, how Ironic huh?
YOu remind me sort of how I was when I was a child. I was a huge animal lover and always had chickens growing up. I remember one in particulur his name was Fred and he followed me everywhere. We had a chicken coup with several chickens and every morning i looked forward to going out to the coup to see if any eggs had hatched, and if they did i would always scoop the poor babies up and bring them inside to show off to my half awake dad. He didnt like that very much. Also at one point of my life I lived in apartments when I was like 8 and all the neighboor kids and I would have a sleepover at my house and we would sneak out and pick up all the outside neighborhood cats and sneak them inside. My mom never liked that too much!
Keep the great stories coming Hope, I enjoy them! Thank you

Hope said...

Thank you Rachel. I enjoy your participation immensely and you always make me smile.

You are very right, this is who I am, here on hopeful journey. Yes, there are parts of Sarah that are me true, but I somehow think Sarah wasn't nearly as sneaky of a child as I was and into so much trouble.

Sarah, in that way was proobably much more like Lynne; she was ornery, but a pretty good kid. I was hell on wheels, I promise you. A grade A typical kid growing up in the '60's and '70's, heady with the freedom of those times, curious to try anything and everything. Pretty normal for the world then, not like nowadays when we have to watch the boys every minute they are outside.

I had to laugh at the ending of this story because it took me a few years to put it all together--chickee being gone and the fried chicken for dinner. Kids so seldom suspect the worst. Isn't that amazing because we do as adults, don't we.

Rachel, I am honored that you think of me as a friend. Feel free to drop me an e-mail sometime if you like, I always enjoy chatting.

Rachel said...

It is sad how much you have to watch your children when they play outside these days, and how a women cant even take a walk around the block without being cautious. I would of loved to be able to grow up in the 60's or 70's with all the freedom there was then. Now when you say drop you an email do you mean on here or is there somewhere where your actual email address is? Also when your book gets published are you going to put a picture on the back cover? I would love to put a face with your words and personality!

Hope said...

On my profile is my e-mail address, but it's hopespringseternal@cox.net

You make me laugh, I'm having a hard enough time imagining actually publishing a book and haven't even considered a picture!

Talk to you soon!