Saturday, March 22, 2008
Where My Easter Peeps?
There's one thing I'm missing this Easter: baby chickens. Not marshmallow Peeps, not pom-poms, not milk chocolate chicks. The real thing.
One year, my mother, who does not like animals of any kind, especially in the house, bought my youngest brother and me two little yellow chickens and one baby duck.
You just have no idea what a crazy thing this was for my mom to do. We lived in a little three bedroom ranch-style house that was so small my mom would allow me to bring one toy into the living room. Before I could bring another, I had to take that first one back to my room. She wasn't being overly strict; it was just such a small house that a few toys here and there left no navigational space.
To this day, I still can't fathom 1: Lucille allowing live animals in the house 2: Lucille allowing live animals in the tiny house.
Anyway, what kind of mother-of-all indulgences spirit possessed her to allow the mother-of-all Easter surprises for me, I'll never know. But boy-howdy, I was one happy little girl, and it was a joy I've never forgotten.
In fact, for many years, as a teenager or even as an adult, I would go to the local Quality Farm and Fleet store each spring just to look at the chicks in the big metal bins. The smell of the chicks and their wood chips and food was wonderful to me. The heat lamp was like ready-made spring sunshine. Their peep-peeping was music to my ears.
Fast forward to 2001. I was helping in children's ministry at church. The lady in charge and I were discussing ways to convey the resurrection story. "Wouldn't it be neat to do an out-of-the-tomb/out-of-the-eggshell story?" I asked. Her eyes lit up. "If I would pay for the chickens and supplies, would you do it?"
My heart raced. At last I had a legitimate reason to ask my husband for a baby chick: "It's for the LORD, Honey!" The lady promised me she had a farm home for it to go to after the event. I don't think she finished the sentence before I was out the door to get me a chicken! I mean, to get Children's Ministry a chicken.
At the farm store, I selected one chick (it doesn't take that long because generally, their personalities and looks don't vary a heck of a lot), noticed how lonely he looked, then grabbed up another. With a cardboard box containing two chicks, I started through the check out when the young man looked quizzically at me and said, "Ma'am, you're gonna need some food for these chickens ....aren't you?" "OH ... silly me! Yes!"
I ended up walking out of there with food, a heat lamp, and more extras than you can imagine. Do chicks need teeny-tiny swingsets? Just kidding. But a $.99 chick ended up costing a whole lot more, but as I said, it was for the LORD!
The object lesson came and went, but the chickens stayed, as I secretly hoped they would. It turned out that here was no farm home, so I became the farm home, smack-dab in the middle of the city.
My husband built them a glorified doghouse with a roost, and I painted it like a barn. I added a mailbox and steps going into the door because they kept sliding down every time they tried to go to bed at night. I sat in the yard in a lawn chair in the middle of my flock and read. It was common for one or more to jump up on the arm of the chair and peer between the book and me to see what I was doing. It was hilarious.
I bought more chicks, fancy ones, Japanese Silkies, little balls of fluff that never get big, can't fly, and have afros on their heads and hinders. I had the best summer of my life. One of the best days was when I found that first little egg.
Since this is so long, I'll stop now, but here are some pics. I miss Esther and Lilly and Buffy and Daisy and Randy. I miss my peeps.