August 18, 2014 – I happened to be in the driveway this morning when Mom came back from the grocery store. She was balancing brown paper bags and a jug of milk as her cell phone rang. She didn’t seem to notice when a rectangular package fell out of one of the bags and landed on the ground next to where I was standing.
“Mom! MOM!” I called after her, but she didn’t hear me. She was too busy trying to squeeze a runaway roll of paper towels under her arm while maintaining a conversation with the person on the telephone and getting the house key ready for use.
I shrugged. I guess she meant for me to have this then, I thought. I bent down and picked up the item. It was a pink toothbrush with a small tube of whitening toothpaste attached to the back.
“Hmmm. Pink isn’t really my color, but I’ll take it.”
I was reading the back of the toothpaste tube when I bumped into Peaches.
“Whatcha got there, Happy?”
“Mom left this for me in the driveway. It’s a toothbrush and a small supply of toothpaste.”
“Do chickens have teeth?” asked Peaches.
“No, I don’t believe we do,” I answered.
“Then why do you think Mom bought it for you?”
“I don’t know. Maybe she wants me to clean my beak.”
“It looks fine to me.”
“Let me see,” I said, looking at my reflection in the window of Coop #1. “It looks good to me, too!”
“Maybe there’s something in the toothpaste that’s supposed to be good for us. Why don’t you give it a try?”
“Why don’t we BOTH give it a try?”
Peaches was game and so was I. The two of us hopped up onto the lower deck near the chicken yard and started our experiment. First, I placed a dab of “Mint Whitening Toothpaste with Cleansing Crystals” on the lovely striped bristles of the pink brush. Peaches leaned in, and I began to scrub her beak according to the directions.
“SWEET MOTHER OF MERCY!” she yelled almost immediately. “WHAT IN THE LOVE OF MIKE IS IN TOOTHPASTE? I THINK MY NOSTRILS HAVE BLOWN OUT. HAVE MY NOSTRILS BLOWN OUT? I CAN FEEL THE WIND BLOWING THROUGH MY HEAD. OH MY GOODNESS. HAS MY HEAD BLOWN OFF? AM I JUST A NECK NOW? HOLY MACKEREL!”
I thought it was hilarious.
“I think it’s only fair that you give it a try,” said Peaches once the intensity of the spearmint wore off.
“Alright,” I said chuckling. “Go ahead.”
Peaches repeated the same steps I had taken with her a minute earlier.
“WHOOOO HOOOO!! MY MAMMA WEARS SNOWPANTS!” I screeched into the air.
Peaches was doubled over in laughter. “What?!” she laughed.
“Oh my goodness! That mint is so strong! Humans actually participate in this cleansing ritual every day?”
“The toothpaste tube says to use it twice a day,” Peaches hooted reading the label for herself.
The cooling sensation mellowed as the paste began to dry. We decided to use the brush and really work it in. It didn’t take long before our beaks were shining!
“Who’s making mojitos?” Wilma demanded coming up behind us. We turned to look at her.
“YOWZA!” she said spotting the greenish-blue paste on our faces. “What is that on your beaks?”
We explained the entire story. “We’re really quite good at it now,” Peaches added. “We even brush up and down, and not in circles like some folks do incorrectly.”
“Ya. Here’s the problem with that,” Wilma countered. “You’re not FOLK! You’re fowl, and fowl don’t have teeth. No teeth, no need for a toothbrush and paste!”
“But…” Peaches and I said in unison.
“But nothing!” Wilma roared. She grabbed the pink toothbrush and what was left of the spearmint paste out of our wings and stormed off to Coop #3.
“She’s going to try to make mojitos out of that isn’t she?” I said to my feathered friend.
“I believe so,” Peaches replied.
We walked up to the duck pool to rinse our faces. I don’t know how much cleaner our beaks actually were, but we felt like a million bucks!
Just then, Mom came out of the house looking much less harried than she had an hour before.
“Hi girls,” she addressed us pleasantly. “You didn’t happen to see the toothbrush package I dropped on the way into the house, did you?”
“As a matter of fact, we did…” I confessed. “I think Wilma is holding it for you for safe keeping.”
“Thanks Happy, thanks Peaches!” she said giving us a quick hug and handing us the freshly picked cucumber that was on the patio table. “Here you go! This is for being such good hens. By the way,” she said, stopping halfway down the front steps, “I don’t know what you two are doing, but keep it up. You look and smell terrific!”
That was the best cucumber Peaches and I ever ate. We shared it from a grassy knoll overlooking Coop #3 where we watched a very animated Wilma and an equally animated Mom, discuss the finer points of beak cleaning… or bartending. The talking points were a bit fuzzy from our vantage point.