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ANOTHER DAY IN THE COUNTRY: I'm in the buggy wit-ya!

© Another Day in the Country

While young people jump on Google to answer all their pressing questions, my generation sought out a friend for advice.  However, times have changed and friends may be far away across the country while Google is always ready and willing, at my fingertips.

My favorite breed of chicks are Americana chicks, bred specifically to lay those eggs that are tinted various shades of blue.  The commercialization of these chicks often results in inbreeding, sometimes, to get the desired egg color and this causes problems with the chicks — cross-beak is one of those self-explanatory problems.

In the last batch of chicks, I got one with that deformity and I let it live. It was a mistake. The poor hen had trouble eating. I watched with mounting frustration as she would look at something, attempt to pick it up and kept missing because the upper part of her beak grew longer and longer and the bottom part was skewed to the side.

I tried trimming her beak to more equal proportions. If you are an avid reading of Another Day in the Country, you probably remember my dilemma. Nothing helped.  She laid misshapen eggs and eventually died.

So, it was woe unto me when one of my new little Americana chicks had a crossed beak.  I decided the chick would need to be culled. Wanting to be self sufficient, I Googled it!  The first suggestion was to put the chick down using a mixture of soda and vinegar in a closed container, which creates carbon monoxide. I’d never heard of such a thing.  

The secret to this working well was a sealable Tupperware bowl big enough to house a chick and an inside container for the “chemical volcano.” I just happened to be at my cousin Carol’s house for supper and I asked if she had such a bowl that I could borrow.

LeeRoy heard me telling her about my Google experiment and he said, “Pat, just let me help you. I’ll come right over and take care of that chick.”  

Oh, those were such welcome words!  We came home. I caught the chick. LeeRoy went outside and while his little boy, Clayton, and I marveled at the remaining 20 chicks, he took care of it!  

It’s wonderful to have extended family nearby — people who are part of your flock, whom you know and trust, people with whom you’ve had history and are still present in your life. It’s so important! Just as my little chicks will grow up and live their lives in this flock of 20, people need a flock around them, too.

I was remembering the other day about the first flock of chickens I ever had.  They were bantams — a “gift” from the man from whom we were renting a house. The chickens came in the bargain. I was in third grade and thrilled. The house was in Bison, Kansas, and the year was 1945.

While we lived in Bison, my father pastored several little churches in surrounding towns: Bison, Schaefer, Nekoma and Bazine.  In Nekoma, there lived a man named Henry Schmidt who, as I recall hearing the stories, was a rather erratic, fast, driver of an old Ford Model T. One day his friend Mr. Frick was riding with him and Henry dodged a pothole, ran off the edge of the road, and found himself down in the ditch, out in a field trying to get back up on the pavement. It was a wild ride and Mr. Frick hollered at his friend, as they dodged fence posts, “I’m in the buggy wit-ya, Henry.”

They finally got back up on the road and lived to tell the story…and laugh about it.  

That phrase, “I’m in the buggy wit-ya, Henry,” became the rallying cry of my family whenever we went through difficult times.  We’d look at each other and say, “I’m in the buggy wit-ya, Henry,” and we knew what that meant. We weren’t going anywhere! We were hanging in there!

The other night, we were coming back from Abilene and suddenly, on K-15, where I’ve never seen deer, there were two deer in the headlights. I slowed as quickly as I could, willing the deer to not move, and at the last moment one veered toward my car, and I just grazed her with my front fender. My kids were holding their breath in the back seat. My sister, breathing heavy, in the front seat. She reached over, touched my arm, and said, “I’m in the buggy wit-ya, Henry.”  We all laughed with relief!  LeeRoy was “in the buggy with me,” the other night and he didn’t even know the phrase…yet.

It’s important to be part of a flock and have people around that know you, are familiar with your life, and can be there for you in times of distress — everyone needs help at one time or another.

It’s another day in the country and a good day to watch out for your little flock and like Mr. Frick on a wild ride with his friend, Henry, say, “I’m in the buggy wit-ya!”

Last modified Sept. 11, 2019

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