“Further Convo with The Moms (aka “Momcat” by John Getchell
In the car, after her audiology appointment:
Momcat: What are you doing now?
Me: Driving you home, then popping by the Hannafid’s to get you more milk and OJ, and such. Then to Home Depot, and then back to work.”
Momcat: Where’s Home Depot?”
Me: “In Biddeford.”
Momcat: “Well can’t I ride along? I’m getting restless…”
Me: “Well, of course!”
Momcat: “Let’s just try to get back so I can have my martini before dinner. Oh! And I need granola.”
On the way, having taken a dog-leg to “New Mornings” for granola…
Me: “I have to stop and drop off egg cartons.”
Momcat: “How peculiar.”
Me: *sighs* “I get fresh eggs from a local guy. When I’m done with the carton, I take it back to him, so he can re-use them. It’s a small economy courtesy.”
Momcat: Ah, I see. Is this the place where you said the chickens swarm around the car?”
Me: “it is!”
Momcat: “I have to see this.”
We pull up into the driveway at “Small Frye Farm”, on Log Cabin Road. There’s a cooler on a small table, and a can with a slit cut into its top; the cash register. I put the two empty cartons in the cooler. There are a dozen duck eggs inside, but as I already have 18 duck eggs in my fridge, I curb my hoarding instinct, and shut the lid.
In the near distance – from a corner of the farmhouse – a couple of pullets appear – one white, and one red – and start making their way across the yard towards our car. Then there is a flurry of squawks and feathers, and 15 to 20 chickens rounded the same corner and made a B-line for the car.
Momcat: (who can barely see, anyway) “Oh My! I think they know we’re here.”
In a flash we were surrounded; a carefully curated collection of hens; mostly red ones, but also a couple of white ones, and three strikingly glossy black ones – so glossy that they almost looked blue – and a few that were brown with a bright red under-feathers around their necks, and also some were a mottled, grey and white, like the ermine on a royal collar. Bright red wattles and combs on all the girls.
They were all fat, and apparently healthy and well-adjusted; supremely confident, and intensely curious about us and our car. My drivers-side door was open, and I swear two or three of them were thinking about hopping in. The chorus of throaty clucks and trills suggested a question, and anticipation.
Momcat: “Can I get out of the car?”
Me: ” I think it’s safe.”
The Moms gets out of the car, and the assembled flock mobs about her ankles. A tractor-trailer comes bombing up the road, and The Moms flaps her arms –
Momcat: “Ladies, LADIES! stay away from the road!!!
The flock heeds her admonition, and retreat a few feet.
Momcat: “What do you think they want? Are they lonely? Are there any roosters?”
Me: ” I don’t see any roosters. I think it’s just girls. Maybe their dad gives them treats or something.”
The girls are busy pecking about in the gravel of the driveway. One fine, plump girl has planted herself on The Moms left shoe.
Momcat: (whispers) “We have the granola…”
We scattered 2 lbs of premium granola on the gravel drive, and with a great flurry of feathery wings and chuckling clucks, the assembled flock set to the task of dispatching the afternoon treat; shallow, afternoon sun shining off their lovely, iridescent plumage.
Farmer Frye, pipe in hand, watches from the porch.
Other errands forgotten, The Mom’s and I headed home for martinis. With extra olives.