Roosters, Eggs, and a Blue Net
On the way to school this morning we discussed the antics of roosters. The teen recalled how one large Rhode Island Red fellow chased her around the house several times when she was much younger. As she raced past the large front window she would holler, “Mooooommmmm” and keep running. Not until the third time around did I sit up and take notice. I could see her running around but had no idea a rooster was right behind her. Finally, I decided she sounded a bit frantic and I went out. Sure enough she raced by clutching the feed bucket and screaming, a big ol’ rooster right on her tail. She was just fast enough to stay ahead of his outstretched beak. Next time around, I grabbed her. She was shaking and crying. I shooed the rooster on around and we went inside.
When she finished her tale the second grader told of the time the BIG WHITE rooster scratched him all over and I made him go out and face him with the swimming pool net. Yes, the swimming pool net. It was a neon-blue net on the end of a long, pole and that old rooster didn’t know what to think. He would puff himself up and begin a crow and “whack” he would get hit with the edge of the net. He hopped and flapped and tried to get out of the pen. A few whacks was all it took for a four-year-old to feel confident again. Mr. Rooster didn’t bother anyone for several weeks.
I added my story about their oldest brother crowing inside the pen while I was gathering eggs. He crowed, the rooster came unglued, and I had to bash him (the rooster) with the feed bucket a few times so that we could escape. Even though some of the stories had a scary element, each was remembered for their bravery in the face of a rooster.
I grew up in a large family with no money, no technology, and no sass. OK. We sassed but we got clobbered for it. I have tried to instill the same kind of ethics, morals, values, common sense in my own kids. We have done many crazy things as a way to teach economics, thrift, courage, leadership, risk-taking and decision-making. I got most of the ideas from my own parents. Hopefully our children will appreciate our efforts in due time and hopefully some of it will evolve into good memories of what it is like to belong to a family. Remember the time we had to…
Grate cheese from a big block
Empty and re-fill ice trays
Bounce a baseball off our biceps
Gather eggs – even in the presence of a rooster
Change our own oil
Quilt by hand and sew on a button (torture)
Peel apples with a knife
Sharpen a knife with a whetstone
Fold a belt in half and snap it (no useful purpose)
Blow notes across a coke bottle opening
Wash and fold clothes
Sew on a machine
Hang the laundry outside
Stir pudding until it thickens
Find the breaker box and figure out which to flip
Spin a basketball on the end of your pointer finger
Make cornbread from scratch
Separate eggs (ewwww…)
Re-wash the foil and all ziploc bags
Tie a knot to hold a tarp in place (and pass daddy’s approval)
Cut a whole chicken (ICK ick ick!)
Pour hot jelly through a funnel into a canning jar
Know the difference between a phillips and flathead screwdriver
Iron our own shirts for church
Say the prayer at a meal
As the years have passed, we have discarded a few things and added others. We like to be flexible parents, but at the same time, we want to insure that our children know that chickens in the grocery store come from chickens in the backyard, that waste is NOT cool, and you can have fun without money or technology. Most of all, we want our children to try different things and to learn to face their fears – such as roosters – and come out believing in themselves.
Life is tough and there are many days we seek our memories to remind ourselves that we can be brave, we can do things no one else in society is doing, that we are part of larger set, and that someone loved us enough to let the rooster chase us around a few times before coming to the rescue.