How ‘Bout That – April 2010

April 17, 2010 by  
Filed under How 'Bout That

The Incident of the Chicken in the Night

with Junie Merkle

We’re just past Easter season, and I’m remembering the tragedy of Earl the Easter Chick.  Pastel hued baby chicks are not so prevalent now as they were in the 1950’s.  But circa 1956, their little fluffy selves were everywhere. Present day society is more aware that these little guys get big, less colorful and still need a home. And maybe it’s not so good for them to be dyed and maybe that’s what is wrong with me. Some states even have regulations against them because they can be a health hazard to kids. But try telling that to Earl.

Pink feathered Earl belonged to my best friend Cissy circa 1956.  He would follow her down the hall chirping all the way.   They were close…so close that Earl wanted to sleep in the bed with her.  Too close because one morning, and, I quote directly from the source 54 years later, “Earl was all smushed, but still warm from my nightgown!!!!!! Daddy tried to tell me it was because he was dyed and he would’ve gone sooner or later, but I’ll always live with the sadness that I slept on him and smothered him!!!”

I’m not sure I would have spoken of The Earl Incident had I realized that Cissy still grieves as if it happened yesterday (see above recent quote).  However, guilt and remorse are strong companions….I should know as they sit at the foot of my bed quite often.  And I still feel pretty bad about Earl too.

(On the other hand, I feel very good about MY Easter chicken, whose name I have forgotten.  Because she grew up, replaced her colored feathers with normal ones, and actually produced eggs.  Being such a thoughtful person, I don’t gloat over that with my friend.) But back to Earl and Cissy.  Where would we be without memories, or for that matter, friends from childhood who share these memories?

I am remembering a best friend who was always in a good mood, the exact opposite of my moody self.  She was short, a little pudgy and pretty.  I was tall, thin, and plain.  But when we were together, life was good …  laughing like loons at everybody and everything, sharing confidences, playing with our Ginny Dolls (Listen up Barbie, you tart, our dolls were quite flat-chested), and staying up for the Friday Night Horror Show hosted by Bestoink Dooley (If you don’t know who Bestoink was, don’t bother trying to find out).  We drifted apart over the years and a lot has happened to both of us, not all of it good.  We stay in touch mostly by email.  But she’s coming to Tybee for a girls’ outing, sans family and responsibilities, and it’s like I’m 8 years old again, and my mother said I could have spend the night company. Life is good.

Somebody, somewhere said, “A true friend is someone who thinks that you are a good egg even though he knows that you are slightly cracked.” Maybe it was Earl.  (Note:  If you really, really want a dyed Easter chick, apparently the Arizona Feeds Country Store in Tucson still sells them to a good home.)

Junie

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