August 7, 2014 – Peaches heard that the crew at Mrs. Turner’s farm was having a pick-up game of softball in the upper pasture, so a few of us from the chicken yard took the short jaunt over to watch. It was amusing alright. We settled in on a knoll overlooking a verdant field. There below us gathered all of our closest friends. Mrs. Turner’s ducks lined the infield while Gertrude the goat and the draft horses, Thaddius and Lerato manned the outfield positions. We heard Trudy arguing with the others that she should be the pitcher and not Sassy the goose, but they explained that because of Trudy’s penchant for eating softballs, she would be remanded to center field. Rosemary the dairy cow, acted as the manager for both sides, coordinating lineups and position changes. This didn’t surprise us, since cows are not known to be good base runners. I think running quickly around a diamond could cause her milk to froth, but I’m not 100% sure.
We were having a grand time watching the gang slug it out at the plate and shag fly balls. Charlotte and Sawyer had brought along picnic baskets with our favorite treats; peanuts, mealworms and raspberry scones. We even had a jug of iced chamomile tea. A perfect combination for such an event – though I spotted Wilma pulling a small jug of moonshine from a backpack and offering Tim a swig. He declined, opting instead to dive into a piece of Betty’s watermelon pie. Peaches brought her pet stick with her. I am unable to determine what the stick thinks of baseball. It may be a painful sport for it to watch since the bat is made of wood, but I couldn’t tell by its expression.
In the bottom of the 8th inning, the pigs, Vivienne, Webster and Madeleine were scheduled to bat. Viv was at the top of the order. Sassy smoked a pitch right over the plate that Viv swung at and missed. She was ready the second time Sassy hurled a fastball down the middle. Vivienne adjusted her stance, put all of her weight behind her swing and sent the softball airborne. Her timing was disappointedly late causing the ball to fly over her head and into the crowd of spectators watching the game from the hill behind home plate. I wondered why the softball was getting bigger – and then it hit me. I thought my eyes had blown out of my head. I must have blacked out and rolled down the slope, because when I awoke, I was lying across home plate with 12 sets of eyes peering down at me.
“She’s….. SAFE!” Rosemary declared in a booming voice.
“She can’t be safe,” Vivienne argued. “She’s not even in the game!”
“She’s lying across home plate, isn’t she?” Rosemary contested. “I’m the umpire and I’m calling Happy, SAFE!”
“But you’re not the umpire!” Vivienne boomed. “You’re the manager… for both sides!”
“Please, no fighting,” I squeaked. “Somebody… find my eyeballs.”
“Good Lord, she’s delirious!” Trudy exclaimed trotting in from the outfield.
“We need to get her home,” said Sawyer.
“I’ll get the horses to bring up the wagon!” Tim crowed in alarm.
“Could we carry her,” Charlotte asked peering over my listless frame.
“I think the wagon would be faster,” Peaches replied poking me gently with her stick.
“Not without my eyeballs!” I screamed back at them.
Waffles knelt down next to my face.
“Hap… can you see me?”
“Yes…” I stated in frustration.
“Then you have your eyeballs. You have every part that you came in with. You just got a little banged up in the noggin from being hit by a foul ball.”
“Ha! That’s funny,” I said. “I’m a fowl and I got hit with a foul ball.”
“She’s fine,” Wilma spat taking a seat on the ground. “Now… are we finishing this game or what?”
I don’t remember who, but more than one person dragged my body off the playing field so the game could resume. There was only one inning left. The horses brought the wagon around, and we sat in it to watch the final outs. At least I had protection should another ball lock its sights on me.
When the game ended, we had a short, though lovely visit with our friends. I had an egg-size bruise on my head that needed ice. The horses brought us home and I rested comfortably for the rest of the day.
People may laugh at me for wearing a colander helmet, but I wouldn’t be seeing two of Wilma had I put mine on before the game. Trust me. Seeing one of Wilma is enough to last a lifetime. The upside is that I was spoiled all day by my flock mates. I think they love me.