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Another Day in the Country

As the days roll by

© Another Day in the Country

I’m sorry to have to report the demise of Sir Reginald, the rooster.

On his last rescue mission, real or imagined because the hen he was hunting already was a predator’s lunch, he was captured by the fox in town — raptured, captured, gone.

The only thing left behind were three patches of feathers — the last being over in Jess’s front yard, where the fox finally caught him for good.

He had a pretty short life, even in chicken years: April, 2023, to December, 2023.

I gathered up some of his smaller feathers as I always do from my departing chickens, just in case I get inspired to make more chicken cards with a mini watercolor painting and a real feather gracing the chicken’s tail — small memorial cards, minus the eulogy.

Ah, well. It’s the beginning of another year, and I’m doing inventory. Livestock: 5 ducks, 12 hens. Counting my blessings: 10 whole game-playing days with Jana and Dagfinnr coming from California. Things I need to organize: Endless; don’t get me started.

We had so much fun! I know that everyone has troublesome family members whom they feel obligated to visit when holidays come round, but this crew is a piece of cake.

They are helpful, easygoing, creative, and just plain fun to be with. That’s quite a compliment.

And they love playing games — any kind of game. 

We played round after round of our favorite games and opened almost every game that I’d wrapped and put under the tree in anticipation of their arrival.

There are two games left under the tree: Blokus (a strategy game) and Hive (a two-person game).

I found and wrapped an antique version of Touring, which we played more than once. Then there was a new game featuring Harry Potter, which we played once but grumbled about the whole time. It is a dumb game. 

“But it has so much potential,” Jana mourned. She’s a real Harry Potter fan. “Maybe we should make up our own Harry Potter game. It could be so good.”

None of us took her up on the offer; we still hadn’t run out of ready-made games to play!

My daughter has quite a witty sense of humor. I told her she should be a standup comedian and she looked at me quizzically, “Really?”

She doesn’t think she’s that funny, but she is. And she gets funnier the more stressful the situation. I could just follow her around, writing down her quips, and she’d have a marketable routine in case she fancies a job change.

I’m sure she sometimes does because she wears so many hats. Then again, speaking from the feminine perspective, don’t we all?

My home is almost always a delightful place to be — even when it’s just my sister and I at the table, reciting the highlights of our day. We laugh a lot. But when Jana is here, it’s a real hoot.

We older set are much more regular with our bathroom stops just so we are prepared to laugh really hard and suffer minimum ill effects.

Usually, the parting at the end of their stay is the hard part for me. I usually go to great lengths to hide my tears that well up — like wearing my sunglasses, so I don’t dampen our last minutes together.

This year I vowed not to do that. Crying is good for you, so why hide it? Tears are literally a healing balm with soothing chemicals, so why staunch them? 

We stopped at a fast-food place in Wichita on the way to the airport, and suddenly my grandson pointed out the window of the restaurant and said, “Baba, isn’t that the same gimpy grackle that was here at this place in July?”

I looked. Sure enough, there was a bird just like one we’d seen there before, begging with a damaged wing.

He couldn’t fly high like other grackles that populated the area. He was sitting on a curb by a drive-through marquee.

“You can almost see the sign he’s holding,” Jana quipped. “God bless. A wife and two eggs at home in the nest.”

We laughed.

“I’m going to take him something,” I said.

A big discussion ensued.

“I read bread isn’t good for birds,” Dagfinnr said as I broke off a piece of bread to offer.

I had read that about ducks, too, but what else did I have to give a bird in need?

“Here are some lettuce scraps,” Jess said as she put greenery on bread cubes I had in my hand.

“Lettuce is zero calories,” Jana deadpanned. “Dipping those crumbs in your cheddar soup might add a little protein.”

We were laughing so hard that I feared Jess would choke.

I did give the bird my offering — minus lettuce — and he gratefully scooped it up. I even managed to snap a picture of him for my yearly picture book. Then we valiantly drove to the airport. I gallantly dropped them off at the curb and bravely headed back home to spend the rest of the day in the country.

Last modified Jan. 3, 2024

 

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