July 2, 2014 – Today was a steamer! I was panting like a dog in labor. I put off getting the yard sale items together until next week when the muggy weather breaks and I can move a cardboard box without dripping into it. Sawyer and I made our beer delivery though. Thank goodness there are windows in the truck! We made it to Delilah’s House of Noodles early enough that she invited us in to try one of her endless bowls of pasta before the lunch crowd appeared. We slid into a red booth near the kitchen and slurped down noodles for an hour and a half. We didn’t even make a dent!
“I think I’m too drowsy to drive,” I said to Sawyer when we got back into the truck.
“We ate too much at once,” Sawyer agreed and suggested that we stop by a park and take a nap under the boughs of a welcoming willow. A couple of ducks were swimming in a nearby lake. It was the last image I saw before my lids grew heavy and sleep took over.
A full hour passed before the playful melody of an ice cream truck nudged us back to consciousness.
“Creamsicle?” I suggested to my best friend.
“Right behind you,” she replied pushing me to move faster before the truck pulled away.
It was then, from the spot on our bench, that we noticed a thicket of wild berries.
“Fresh raspberry scones would be wonderful tonight with a chilled glass of iced tea,” Sawyer teased.
“I’ll get my calendar helmet,” I replied dashing back to the truck.
The two of us quickly filled the hat to the brim with the mouthwatering fruit.
“What a find!” Sawyer said lightheartedly after tasting a juicy berry. “I could sit here and eat the entire helmet, but we’d better finish with our deliveries first.”
We had no sooner started down the road headed to Fat Eddie’s Fried Clams, when the sun disappeared and booming thunder rolled into the area. I could feel it shaking the truck. Seconds later, gallons upon gallons of rain fell from a sky tired of holding it back. We pulled into Fat Eddie’s with the windshield wipers working feverishly to clear the glass.
“I’ll unload this order,” I said to Sawyer. “No sense in the both of us getting drenched. Stay here and eat your berries.”
“Wait!” Sawyer said grabbing my wing. “Take your helmet!” She emptied the berries into a brown paper bag she found in the glove compartment and handed me the colander.
“I know there are holes in it,” she said sensing my skepticism, “but it’s better than nothing.”
I plopped the helmet on my head and hopped out the door. Fat Eddie’s kitchen manager, Birddog, met me at the truck bed with a dolly and unloaded the seven cases of premium beer from The Happy Chicken Brewing Company lickity split. When we were done, he handed me a check (which I immediately placed in my satchel) and went back inside the restaurant. Then, a bolt of lightning struck me in the helmet.
I blew backwards slamming into a pile of empty wooden crates piled high against Fat Eddie’s dumpster. The colander, fueled by the fiery rod of fire, rocketed into the windshield of the truck a mere second after Sawyer had dropped her head to pick up a berry that had fallen to the floor. When she sat up, the inside of the truck was covered with shards of glass. One sole raspberry was pinned to the seat fabric behind Sawyer’s head like a personal memo thumbtacked by Thor himself. Sawyer let out a blood curdling scream and tossed the rest of the berries out the now windowless window.
If it hadn’t been so scary, it would have been a funny moment. I got up from my spot and brushed myself off. I reached up to feel my head; still there. I checked my feathers – none were smoldering. I had escaped a catastrophe. Sawyer, on the other hand, was running circles around the truck screaming my name while wielding into the air what was left of my colander helmet.
“I’m over here!” I called.
I couldn’t get a word in edgewise after that. Sawyer was stuck in panic mode. I finally had to throw a banana peel in her face. Birddog came running out the kitchen door the second he heard the boom that knocked me off my feet. He brought us inside to dry off. When the rain stopped, he swept out the truck for us and removed every piece of broken glass. Other than a missing windshield, the truck is fine. Other than a berry stain across her eyebrow and some rattled nerves, Sawyer is fine. As for me, I need a new helmet – and maybe a chicken diaper.
We arrived back home a short time ago. We called ahead to tell the flock what had happened. They of course, were concerned for our safety and checked us over from head to toe. Charlotte scheduled an appointment for the windshield to be replaced in the morning. Peaches had blueberry scones and a pitcher of iced tea on the table. But the best surprise was waiting for me in my nest box. A shiny new colander helmet with my name engraved in the front.
“How did you get one so quickly,” I asked, truly touched by their thoughtfulness.
“With the way you navigate life we knew you’d need one sooner or later,” Wilma drawled. “We’ve had this one in storage for months.”
The fit was perfect and I was perfectly fit. I pulled the two sales checks from my satchel and handed them over to Addie. It was a payday to boot. All in all, it’s been a great day.