Oh, the joy that comes from an egg!
I shall never forget the inquisitive, widening gleam in the eyes of the little boy standing in the postal line as I signed to receive my package. Admittedly, I, too, was giddy with anticipation upon hearing the little high-pitched chirps and squeaks emanating from within. Gathering the box, perforated with dime-sized holes, from the counter, I smiled at this youngster in passing, assuredly perpetuating his child-like curiosity. I could hardly wait to get home. After all, I had waited for almost two months for the parcel to arrive from Iowa.
Opening the box, I peered within to look upon both an adorable and heartening sight. They had made it—every single one of our seventeen baby chicks had arrived alive.
Like instant mother hens, my wife and daughter set about making sure our new arrivals had every necessity. While Robyn prepared a high-energy cocktail of water and vitamins, or “pep” as they call it, for the babies, Brontë and I carefully inspected each one. It was immediately obvious that each was a unique breed, no two alike, with individual personalities and characteristics to match. The guessing instantly began of which was which? Some looked like miniature partridges with chipmunk stripes upon their backs. Some were yellow and fuzzy, like quintessential Cadbury thespians. I knew there was a rooster want-to-be among the lot, but had no idea which one. Only time would tell.
Visitors began to arrive, cooing over the lovable nature of each chick and speedily staking claim to his or her rightful ownership. “That one’s got to be mine,” or “Look, she likes me,” was the rhetoric—a continual merry-go-round of guesswork. Turns out, most were unquestionably wrong with few exceptions, including me.
Fortunately, the chicks are now old enough to make daily jaunts to the farmyard. The inquisitive older hens are learning with reluctance to become acclimated to the diurnal squatters infringing upon their pecking grounds.
Hopefully soon, the two groups will assuredly learn to become one, part and parcel to the whole, allowing our joy of eggs to multiply seventeen-, no, sixteen-fold. For, one had better be a rooster!
R. Shannon Mock
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