An Ellie Mae look alike
While visiting with a friend who writes the Irish Garden House, I thought of another chicken story from childhood. I told Lynne I could speak chicken. She laughed but I think she believed me. I give her credit for jarring my memory so I could take y'all back in time with me.
I've always been a chicken lover, actually a lover of all animals. (Don't even THINK dirty!) The summer of 1965 (age ten) for some unremembered reason I was gifted two young chicks from a neighbor. These were my first Bantams since Mom and Dad always kept large hens for egg and meat production.
Glory of glories! I had two chicks all my own. I immediately named them Ellie Mae and Jethro...hey, it was 1965. Before they grew their first full set of feathers, they knew their name and thought I was their mom. They grew quickly. Soon they had to leave their protected box inside and enter the real world. They both would sit on my shoulders as I walked. When I came outside and tapped my shoulder, they would fly and land perfectly.
Jethro met with an unfortunate accident involving another animal but Ellie Mae was my favorite...I know, not supposed to have favorites with your children. It was just me and Ellie Mae and my dog, Helen. There were other animals but these were mine, all mine.
Ellie Mae spent most of her days that summer on my shoulder or nearby. She relied on me for feed so she didn't wander far. I caught bugs for her or anything else she would eat and fed her on my shoulder.
Mother was a little tense when I brought the chicken inside. On one of the rare occasions I bucked parental authority (taking my life into my own hands) I took a stand because of Ellie Mae. Mother would not let me bring Ellie Mae to the dining table. Oh, how horrified I was! Couldn't understand it. (Hey, I was ten and loved my chicken). I declared I would not eat if Ellie Mae could not eat with me.
I waited for the explosion. It didn't come. Dad asked Mom, What harm can it do? A table and chair were placed outside the kitchen under a shade tree. I carried my plate and my drink out to the table with Ellie Mae on my shoulder. I set her on the table and she ate from my plate as I did. I drank my tea as did Ellie Mae. (And, no, she never pooped on the table. I guess she had learned to go on the ground cause she never pooped on my back either.)
That was a wonderful summer. The last summer I ate with the chickens at a table. When people found out I liked Bantams they gave me more. Dad built a huge shed so I could have my own chickens. I would sit for hours and imitate their sounds. I knew what each sound meant and they seemed to understand me so I spoke chicken, I suppose.
My Bantam flock grew. I had over fifty of every kind and color along with two ducks and a crow...but that's another story.
Thank you, Lynne, for helping me remember.