The Trouble With Words

The Trouble With Words

Gracie was quite emphatic that we had to do something immediately. We had to help The Big Boy at the end of the street because he needed eyeglasses much more than the new bicycle he had gotten for Christmas.

As with most concerns which my chickens have kept to themselves, it often takes a good deal of questioning to get to the bottom of the real story.

She insisted we had to take up a collection or have a yard sale or a bake sale or something to raise money for The Big Boy’s eyeglasses. It was causing The Little Boy at the end of the street a great deal of stress and tears.

Chickens may not totally understand and they may often misinterpret, but you do have to appreciate their caring hearts.

“Gracie, tell me why you think The Big Boy at the end of the street needs glasses.”

“He keeps telling The Little Boy ‘You’re a chicken,’ when he is clearly not a chicken. He is a boy.”

“What do you mean?”

“Well, The Big Boy will ride his new Christmas bicycle back and forth in the street and in circles around The Little Boy and say ‘Chicken! Chicken! Chicken!’”

“I see. Does The Little Boy ever ride his own new Christmas bicycle back and forth in the street.”

“No.”

“Not even a little?”

“No. We’ve seen him rolling it when The Big Boy is not around.”

“I see.”

This was not going to be an easy explanation.

“Gracie, it’s like this. He was calling his little brother ‘Chicken!’ because he was afraid to ride the new bike he got for Christmas.”

Gracie looked very puzzled.

“Gracie, when people say ‘You’re a chicken,’ it is like saying, ‘You’re afraid.’”

“People think that about chickens? That we are afraid?”

“Well, not all people, but some people.”

Gracie sat down in a huff. “That is very insulting to chickens!”

“I know.”

“And they need to stop doing that!”

“I know, Sweetie.”

“Why do they do that?”

“Well, I think The Big Boy wanted The Little Boy to get up the courage to ride his new bicycle and not worry about falling off or crashing.”

“So he was trying to help him?” she said, still perplexed.

“Yes, I guess you could say it that way.”

“And he was helping him by pretending he couldn’t see well enough to tell he was a little boy and not a chicken,” she said, still doubting this whole confusing situation.

“Yes. Sort of like that.”

“I will never understand people.”

“I agree with you. Neither will I.”

We both chuckled and shook our heads.

“Gracie, I love you.”

“What’s not to love? I’m a chicken!”

“Yes, that’s it, Gracie! He was calling his little brother a chicken because he loved him. He didn’t want the even bigger boys to pick on him even more.”

“So it was a good thing?”

“Well, is being a chicken a good thing?”

“Absolutely!”

“You are so right, Gracie. And I would never call you a scaredy cat.”

The same puzzled look came over her face again, but she quickly decided to leave her “scaredy cat” questions for another day.

My Life With Gracie taught me the importance of saying what you mean and meaning what you say.

Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!

Family Photo Friday!

Family Photo Friday

This is probably a “hold onto your heart” photo even though it doesn’t have any cute baby chicks in it. I came across this while considering how to bring some of these posts together into a possible book. This photo is both sad and happy for me, though much more happy than sad. I still miss these two that I raised from hatchlings, but their new home was what was best for them.

In the foreground is Lefty, my big boy who had begun to crow and had to move out to the country. (Roosters aren’t allowed in my city, only no more than six hens.) Then there is Rudy who I had to take to be with him for companionship. (As bold and sure of himself as he was, he got very lonely very quickly! Since then, they have raised many baby chicks of their own.) In the back is Otis, a big gentle dog. He was genuinely glad to have his own chickens to watch over and protect from predators.

Lefty and Rudy were the start of a real farm. Their new family then added more chickens and eventually ducks, quail, pigs, and goats. This week, they have been caring for and bottle-feeding a baby calf who lost her momma.

It’s interesting how things often have a way of turning out for the best all by themselves. Lefty is finally the real “cock-a-doodle-doing” farm rooster he was hatched to be!

If you’re thinking of starting a farm, just get a big gentle farm dog like Otis and a spirited rooster like Lefty. The rest just might fall into place!

Pearl’s Life Coaching Flowchart #2

Pearl's Life Coaching Flowchart #2

With spring slowly coming to our part of the world and daffodils blooming in our little backyard garden, Pearl thought it might be good to offer a little help with answering one of life’s most challenging questions: “How can I have more joy in my life?” So she has prepared her second flowchart as a “Life Coach.” (You can read her first flowchart here if you’d like.)

It’s also a great opportunity to wear her new Daffodil hat. If you don’t have a Daffodil hat of your own, you may consider making one. If Pearl can do it, so can you!

Please keep in mind this is all from Pearl’s unique chicken perspective. Whether or not this carries over to a human perspective is something you can decide for yourself.

Special Note: Pearl is planning to have “Ode To Joy” from Ludwig van Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony playing in the background when she delivers this message at our local university.

Let’s get started. Go Beethoven! Go Pearl! (She will be using Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” as her flowchart test item.)

“Can you eat it?”

Since Pearl is a chicken, and eating is something chickens and people both have in common, this seems to be a good place to start.

You’ll notice Pearl doesn’t ask whether it tastes good or not. There are very few things a chicken won’t eat, and what they won’t eat, there’s almost always another animal that will eat it. (You would be amazed at the number of things chickens will not eat but which people will eat!)

Pearl’s Bottom Line: Things you can eat are definitely a reason to jump for joy!

You cannot eat a song like Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy.” Well, I guess you could eat the sheet music if you were truly desperate. But you can eat something else while listening to Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy.” To be fair, we should count that as a “No.”

“Will you be able to eat it later?”

This is more important than you might think. Just because you can’t eat something today, doesn’t mean you won’t be able to eat it tomorrow. Never forget shoelaces can turn into earthworms!

Often things just need a little time to get soft and mushy and ripe. For example, a hard green tomato will turn into a soft red ripe tomato if you give it some time.

So if your answer is “Yes,” you have a reason to jump for joy. Even if you can only give it a “Maybe,” don’t despair. There’s always tomorrow.

Pearl’s Bottom Line: Everything deserves another chance to become food for chickens.

Nevertheless, you cannot eat Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” or the sheet music no matter how many times you say “Maybe” and wait. Looks like another “No.”

“Can it eat you?”

Now we are getting to the flip side of this whole eating thing. Just because you can’t eat it, doesn’t mean it can’t eat you!

So if it can’t eat you, that’s definitely a reason to jump for joy even if you can’t eat it. If it can eat you, proceed with caution!

Pearl’s Bottom Line: If you can’t eat it, and it can’t eat you, then you are safe even though everybody’s stomach might be grumbling. Jump for joy just a little, and then go find something to eat!

Beethoven’s “Ode To Joy” cannot eat you…unless it is being played on an accordion by a very gifted bear. If that is the case, continue on with “Yes.”

“Has it eaten you yet?”

If you’ve made it this far, you’ve got reason to celebrate! You haven’t become someone’s dinner! Jump for joy…and then run!

Pearl’s Bottom Line: Just look around, and you’ll probably find more reasons to jump for joy than you can count! Pearl’s own “Ode To Joy” has triumphed in the end!

Each post shares a glimpse into my journey as a writer and illustrator. Every “Like,” “Follow,” and “Comment” is truly appreciated!