September 17, 2014 – A few of us were hanging out in the herb garden picking over the last of the cucumbers that Mom said were not going to get any bigger. The vines are withering, spent from an exceptional season of produce. The watermelons though, are thriving. I walked over to Mom’s office window to ask her the status of these juicy round sweets.
“Mom! Mom!” I pecked the window with my beak to get her attention. Her head was down and her eyes were closed. At first I panicked, thinking something might be wrong, until I heard her snoring. Mom was sleeping with her head on the keyboard! It was hard not to laugh. She looked up in a start, clearly not meaning to have nodded off.
“Oh, sorry about that Hap. I was up late last night writing. What’s up?”
“The girls and I were wondering what the rule is for the watermelons. Eat them or leave them?”
“Good question,” she replied scratching her scalp. This caused a piece of hair on the top of her head to stick up like a rooster tail. I cackled out loud.
“You’re in a good mood today,” she smiled.
“I guess that’s why you named me, Happy!” I answered, still howling over her copper plumage.
“I’ll tell you what,” said Mom returning to the question at hand. “You can have the little ones, but leave the three large ones alone. I know we’re supposed to have a frost later this week, but if we can save them, let’s give it a try. Maybe they’ll still ripen.”
It sounded like a reasonable request. I turned to relay the information to the ladies, but before I could open my mouth, a commotion sprang up. Squawking and screeching filled the air. I looked back to Mom in horror but she already had her torso halfway out the window.
“WHAT IN THE LOVE OF MIKE IS GOING ON OUT THERE?” she called over the fray.
I cupped my wings to yell.
“Sawyer! What’s happening?!”
I didn’t need an answer. A second later, I watched Peaches back away from the stone wall that borders the garden with one of the big watermelons stuck on her head. It was so heavy, that when she cranked her neck, the melon swung like a wrecking ball completely freaking out the rest of the girls. Charlotte nearly collapsed in fright while Addie went at Peaches with a stick. Peaches’ stick!
“Get back you hideous beast!” she wailed whacking the watermelon with such force that it almost split open.
“I’ll get it!” Wilma boomed after Addie’s unsuccessful attempt to crush the intruder. She swiftly picked up a handful of gherkin size cucumbers and began whipping them at Peaches’ head.
The poor thing was running in circles, screaming in terror. The louder she screeched, the more the ladies chased her.
“Happy, help!” Sawyer yelled to me. “They think she’s a monster! She just has her head stuck, that’s all!”
“I’ve got a frying pan in the coop!” Wilma shouted to Addie. “Keep the ogre contained until I get back!”
Finally, a whistle sounded causing everyone to freeze in their tracks. Mom had come outside and was standing in the center of it all.
“THIS IS NOT A GARDEN TROLL!” She roared above the din pointing to the melon-headed chicken. Addie stood motionless with a hefty boulder over her head. Mom pulled the giant fruit from Peaches’ head.
“Are you alright?” she asked the tearful and clearly shaken hen.
Peaches nodded but remained silent.
The others gasped in disbelief after realizing that they had nearly done poor Peaches in, and immediately pulled her close for a hug. All except Wilma, that is.
“This flock is crazier than bat crap!” she griped. “I’m taking a nap.”
“That was a close one,” said Sawyer picking chunks of watermelon from Peaches’ comb.
“I’ll say,” I added, washing her face with a dishtowel.
“Sorry about the watermelon,” I said to Mom. Her errant piece of hair now twisted in the wind like a twirlygig.
“That’s alright, Hap,” she replied scooping Peaches up in her arms. “As long as everyone is ok, there’s no need to apologize.”
Then she went into the house. She returned a minute later with a carving knife.
“We might as well eat them now,” she said, slicing the remaining melons into manageable portions. “At least this way, no one gets hurt!”
Later in the day, Peaches had regained enough composure to speak. Sawyer and I were so relieved to hear her beautiful voice.
“Does anyone have any dental floss?” she chirped. “I’ve got a seed caught in my beak!”
Then she wandered off whistling a delightful ditty and swinging her stick artistically through the air.
“That is one easy-going bird,” I remarked. “She never holds a grudge.”
“She’s a peach alright,” Sawyer agreed.
“Speaking of the fruit, I know for a fact that Mom has a couple in the fridge. Why don’t we grab them and make our friend a wonderful dessert!”
“Peach Cobbler!” Sawyer replied enthusiastically.
It’s in the toaster oven now. The coop smells wonderful. Sometimes the most dreadful event can turn into the sweetest moment. We’re letting Peaches lick the ice cream spoon.