October 10, 2013 – A chilly nip hung in the air today making it feel raw and unwelcoming. I hope this weather has not unpacked its bags for an extended visit. I enjoy the sunshine. Since it was overcast, I chose to stay inside the coop and concentrate instead, on the future. I hung the neon sign out early: “Good Fortunes Told by Tea Grounds – Step in for a Free Reading (and a complimentary hair comb) by Madame Happy Feet”. I placed it on a bracket directly above the sign by our door that reads, “Please be neat and wipe your feet!” The coop was quickly packed with customers waiting their turn with the Mystical Madame of Poultry. Sawyer passed out piping hot cups of tea while I met one by one with each patron behind the red velvet curtain draped around my nest box. “I see a kernel in your future!” I shared with Violet. “Sanders?!!” She shrieked nervously. “Not colonel…,” I explained; “kernel… as in corn.” Charlotte wanted to know if we’d be successful in the beverage industry. “Oh, yes!” I replied, tilting the teacup toward the light in the window. “I see a big holiday push and… it looks like tango lessons in your future.” Charlotte was thrilled by this news as she loves to dance. “Madame Happy Feet,” Maisy, the young pullet from Coop #2 asked timidly, “will I be a good egg layer?” I didn’t need the dregs of any drink to tell me what I knew in my heart to already be true. “Maisy, you and your sisters are going to be wonderful egg layers!” I have to admit that I got a bit misty-eyed over her anxiety. I love those pullets to pieces. My last customer of the day was Wilma, of all chickens. She parted the curtain and took a seat on the stool opposite of me. Slowly, she arched her eye suspiciously at the golden hoop that hung from my right earlobe and the sparkling blue jewel embedded in my lime green kerchief. She slid her empty teacup across the table before challenging me with the question, “So, Madame Happy Feet…. what do the leaves tell you about my future?” Be careful, Hap, I warned myself. This could be a trap. I peered into the bottom of the china cup for several minutes before lifting my eyes to hers. “I see a chair that stands tall among many others. I see trunks brimming with mealworms. I see you smiling in a beam of sunlight.” Wilma lifted her head and squinted, as if visualizing the scenes I described to her. “Humph.” She muttered, before standing to leave. I thought we were done, until she turned to me and asked, “When do I get the free hair comb?” All in all, it was a very pleasant day where even the most difficult client proved tolerant.
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