Jocie Brooke here reporting from Holly County, KY. I’m not on Main Street tonight, but actually visiting Miss Sally. Miss Sally is the sweetest lady you’d ever want to meet and we have her in our church out there at Mt. Pleasant. Daddy wishes he had a whole church full of Miss Sallys. She’s always volunteering to do whatever needs doing and doesn’t ever care who sits in what pew. She says that none of the church pews have anybody’s name engraved on them and all she wants is to see them jam packed with people listening to Daddy preach the Gospel. She knows that some of the folks contributed to buy the pews a few years back, but that didn’t give them ownership. No sir. It’s free seating at the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church and if you think different then you’d better be talking to Miss Sally.
But I’m at Miss Sally’s because of chickens. Yes, you heard me right. Chickens. My chickens. Well, they were mine before I gave them to Miss Sally. I couldn’t very well keep chickens. You’ve got to have a chicken house for that and special lights to keep them warm and these saucer like things you turn a mason jar upside down on so the water trickles out to fill the saucer without running over. You have to tip them over really fast after you fill up the jar. The first time I tried it, I spilled water everywhere, but Miss Sally just laughed. Miss Sally never got married to have kids of her own, so instead she just adopted every kid at church as hers. So it made sense to let her adopt my chickens.
Now you might be wondering why I had chickens to put out for adoption. That’s one of the strange things that has actually happened here in Hollyhill. I won them. Well, sort of won them. Maybe I earned them. I don’t know. But what happened is this. I went to this 4-H meeting. Dad’s always wanting me to join clubs and I thought why not. If nothing else, I could snap a few pictures for the newspaper while I was there even if I didn’t want to learn to sew. I already know how to cook popcorn, eggs and chocolate chip cookies. When I told the leader, Mrs. Casey, that, she laughed and said there are lots of other projects I can take. I figured it would be rude to say I wasn’t interested in those either, so when she started talking about this contest where you could write an essay about why you wanted 100 baby chicks, I said why not. I didn’t expect to win the chickens. I was just making Mrs. Casey happy. I like keeping the people around me happy. Except for old Zella. Nobody could keep her happy!
Well, lo and behold, I did WIN those baby chickens. I have no idea what I wrote about taking care of them, but whatever I made up must have been good.
Last week the chickens came in the mail in a box with holes in it. Can you believe that? Not the holes. Of course, you can believe that. Even little chickens have to breathe. I mean them coming in the mail like a letter. One noisy letter. You should have heard them cheeping when Dad took me to the post office pick them up. I suppose it is too much to expect the mail carrier to stuff them in our mailbox. Our mailbox wouldn’t hold them anyway.
Dad and I took the top off the box and looked at those baby chickens after he put them in the back seat of the car. “They’re cute,” I said as I very carefully scooped one out of the box. “And soft.”
“Aunt Love won’t like them in the kitchen.” Dad stared at the chickens.
“And Jezebel would probably eat them.” I let the chick escape from my hand back into the box with his friends. The box was divided into four squares. Dad said that was so the chickens wouldn’t pile up on one another and smash or suffocate the ones on the bottom of the pile. With them divided into four places, the piles wouldn’t be as deep and the ones on the bottom could maybe scoot out.
“The cat’s name is Sugar,” Dad said, but more out of habit than caring what I called Aunt Love’s cat.
And so we gave the chickens to Miss Sally who is excited to have baby chickens and who says I can come and feed them any time I want. Then this summer she’ll fix us fried chicken. Somehow I don’t think I’m going to have much of an appetite for fried chicken this year.
But anyway, that proves I can make something with my writing. Hope for the future! Did you ever win something by writing an essay? Bet it wasn’t chickens. But you might have had chickens. Did you?