This is not an ordinary Christmas story, and it will likely never be considered a “Christmas Classic.” Still it is our Christmas story for this year, presented in two parts.
You might say that my neighborhood is just like any other. We have our share of eccentric people. Everyone is quite tolerant of the unexpected and out-of-the-ordinary.
Lately I’ve been hearing the sounds of a baby goat coming from my next door neighbor’s backyard. For some time now, they’ve owned a pig which has strayed into my yard a time or two to check out my chickens. You simply come to expect the unexpected here.
In a strange way, we value our uniqueness and our farm animals, even while in the middle of a city surrounded by other cities. My neighborhood is a safe place still rooted in the past, anchored by our Feed and Seed Store and the last remaining family-owned businesses.
The only neighbor who has ever made me wonder about any of this was The Bottle Cap Lady.
For a while, she was a part time cashier at a fast food restaurant until she showed up drunk for work one day. It probably wasn’t the first time, just the first time she wasn’t able to cover it up. Then the same thing happened at her other part time job.
Her husband is occasionally home for a while but then more often away for even longer. She says he comes from a wealthy family, but no one really believes her. He does try to be there for the holidays. We would seldom see him, just his old red pickup truck parked out front.
The Bottle Cap Lady collects soda bottles caps from trash cans hoping to win prizes. It’s what she does to fill the empty places in her life.
She also collects beer bottle caps from her refrigerator. It’s what she does hoping to forget those empty places.
After she lost her part time jobs, she would show up at my backdoor. At first, she tried to sell me some of her things so she could buy groceries. Instead I gave her a few dollars for something to eat.
Sometimes she came to my backdoor to invite me to take her somewhere (with beer). Other times it was just to ask for money to go out with her friends to a special place or event (with beer). But we both knew it was just to collect a few more beer bottle caps to help her forget.
I really considered her to be harmless until I got my chickens. Maybe I worried unnecessarily, but when she came to my backdoor asking for money and didn’t say anything about my new chickens flapping and clucking at her, it made me wonder. It would be like visiting someone’s house and totally ignoring their huge new television set. At times like that, you worry about what you value the most.
Anything could be replaced except my chickens. She wasn’t afraid of chickens because she had grown up on a farm. She could catch and trade a chicken for a six-pack of beer if she was thirsty…or turn a chicken into a meal if she was hungry.
My Life With Gracie made me warn my chickens about The Bottle Cap Lady, but as things would turn out, not all of them would listen…
Please continue reading Part 2 for the remaining message of “How To Explain Christmas To Chickens.” I will do my best to post each Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!