a tale of tails, tenacity, and tedium, as told by me, usually barefoot and bellowing

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Things Just Happen That Way

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.

22 comments:

John Gray said...

Lovely memories

A Quiet Corner said...

I KNEW there was a reason I liked you!!!!...:)JP

Delores said...

Bantams are cute but feisty. I have a mental image now of your shade tree picnics.

Saucy Kodz said...

This was a really nice memory and story. Thank you for sharing with us. Hey Girl, you "TALK" the talk, but do you also "WALK" the walk. haha
lol n Hugz to M n all.

Lynne said...

How great is that . . . what a great story, wonderful memory . . . thanks . . . I believe you in that "talking chicken" . . .

Some might think a chicken can't be a pet . . . I remember Gary telling me about his pet chicken Daisy . . . I think he "talked chicken" too . . .

Memories jarred for each of us!

DeniseinVA said...

Thank you for sharing such a lovely memory.

Sandra said...

i love this story and am so glad she jogged your memory... it is so odd to me that something we see, hear, smell can bring back a memory we have forgotten completely. this story is funny, sweet and wonderful. so glad they let you eat outside that summer. i can tell you i would NOT have let my boys bring a chicken in the house. in 1970 my dad took the two boys 3 and 5 to buy seed for his garden. he came home with two tiny chicks.. i was horrified. we lived in the city. what were you thinking was my yell at daddy.... those chicks lived in a box in the back yard until they got to be full grown and we took them to a lady who raised chickens and sold eggs.

Karen S. said...

They are beautiful, and your heartwarming story is delightful. Every chance I got as a child to help with collecting eggs or anything around the farm was just wonderful. I never understood folks that didn't enjoy it. Also, get your Rebel out! I nominate you for the Black and White 5 day photo challenge. I hope you enjoy playing if, you do it!

T. Powell Coltrin said...

This is a great story. The only chicken story I can think of is that every time I visited as a very young child, my grandma tied a rope to its leg because I wanted it as a pet. Good thing I didn't get attached because after I left I'm pretty certain, she chopped off their heads for dinner.

Linda Kay said...

Such a cute story, and I can't imagine having a chicken on my shoulder. I used to have responsibility for chickens when I was a kid on the farm, but didn't have any favorites, and they weren't banties. My aunt had bantam chickens, and I thought they were so pretty.

TexWisGirl said...

awww. that is sweet.

Mrs Shoes said...

You've reminded me of a couple of chicken stories of my own - I shall have to write them down!

McGuffy Ann Morris said...

Interesting and fun story! I am not a fan of live chickens, but my Granny sure was! Bill's dad was also raised on a chicken farm. So, we do have chickens on both sides of our families. Ha!

Sandy said...

Great chicken story Gail! How long did little Ellie Mae live?

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Yo were mom to a lot of chickens. I did wonder if she ever pooped on your shoulder.

C-ingspots said...

Oh, I love this story! I am, and have always been an animal lover too. I guess we're either born that way, or not. I'll bet you really CAN talk chicken!!

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

Great story. Should be a children's book. My daughter used to carry her chicken under her arm. She looked so happy and content that we used to call it her chicken look. :)

Country Gal said...

Fantastic story ! I love Bantums to and had a few on our farm when I was kid . I had a favorite I named Charolett she was a black/grey/beige mix in colour and her and I were best buds I still miss her to this day ! We also had a rooster with one leg we called Alfred who loved to hop up into the kitchen take a look around and off he would go back out side lol ! I so miss the farm and all the animals I really would like to have a hobby farm of our own working on that lol ! Thanks for sharing , Have a good day !

Sketching with Dogs said...

What an absolutely wonderful story, I can almost see you walking along the road with Ellie Mae on your shoulder. I would have loved to have you for a friend when I was a little girl.
Lynne x

LindaG said...

Wonderful, wonderful story, Gail. Some days I wish I had grown up on a farm.
Blessings. ♥

Gabriella said...

This is a very sweet story, Gail. It would make a wonderful scene in a movie.

Ida said...

That was a fun story. I feel bad about poor Jethro but you know the character in the show wasnt too bright so maybe the chicken took after him. (that was mean).

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