Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Annie and Fannie

The sun shone brightly and we were in the backyard. My mother and Dennis were in the backyard wrestling with a box. Within that box were trapped two birds who would change my life forever.

"The pets have to have names, " she said to me.

So we called the black and white speckled one, "Fannie" and the other one "Annie". I couldn't figure out what was so great about these noisy, smelly, stinking creatures. They didn't do as they're told like Sandy the dog, you couldn't take them for a walk and I just thought to myself, "How stupid! And now I get to shovel chook shit as well."

As time went on, Fannie died. I didn't really care about her. She had no personality; unlike Annie. Could that chook run. There I'd be, just about to go in to collect some eggs and she'd bolt out into the vegetable patch. But oh no, she wouldn't just eat the vegetables; that would be too easy.

She'd scratch them out of the very earth - and not only that she'd stop, for a minute, and look at you as if to say, "Well, come and get me!"

Countless hours I'd spend trying to cajole her out of that vegetable patch. True, she didn't have much time to destroy it given the amount of dirt and rocks I was throwing at her but I had no chance at all of catching her either. They say female dogs are bitches, well so are female chickens, especially the ones that didn't want to get caught.

This battle of wills always ended in one of two ways. She'd either run right out of the vegetable patch, into the chicken pen and look up at you, with her intelligent, loving eyes, softly clucking. Or it was the hose. The garden hose. The only thing she would run from was the hose and the cold wetness that it delivered...then again it probably wasn't the moisture.

It was probably the water pressure.

And she'd cluck. And she'd fuss. And she'd flap her wings. You could almost hear how much she hated me for it.

But she and I had an understanding, we got each other; I never got other people.

But I did get my chickens.

They were my real friends.

Week One

The day after my eighth birthday my father told me...that I would be living on my own with my mother from then on.