October 2, 2014 – The visiting cousins from Europe stayed most of the day before being picked up in a limousine just before dark for their trip to the airport and ultimately, home. Once we realized that they weren’t the force behind the alien skunk ship, we got along famously. They have invited us all to visit England this coming spring and stay for a month-long holiday with Her Majesty, the Queen. Actually, with Her Majesty’s flock of highly educated, chicken-rights-advocating hens.
“Have you ever been to Europe before?” Beatrix, the one-eyed buff asked politely.
“I’ve been to France,” I replied in a pleasant tone. “I bought a beret.” I felt it necessary to leave out the part where Sawyer and I boarded the wrong plane and were duped by Dumpling Longfeather.
“Well, I’m sure London will be thrilled to have you. We’ll make sure that you get to see all of the sites from Buckingham Palace – where we will set you up in a guest coop, to Westminster Abbey and the London Eye. There is so much to see and do actually, that I’m quite sure a 2-month visit would be more appropriate. Of course, you’ll need to check your schedule for the coming year. We wouldn’t want to interrupt any plans that you and the others must already have in place.”
I leaned back to peek at the calendar we have hanging in the garage. Except for the holidays and the last day of worm hunting circled in red, we were wide open.
“Yes, of course,” I replied. “We may need to rearrange an event or two, but it’s certainly manageable.”
We said our goodbyes and waved enthusiastically. Petal and Chip lifted their wings in acknowledgement. Dandelion looked straight ahead, already anticipating her next destination. Were it not for the colander helmet on her head given to her by Addie, there might be little recognition of her time spent with us.
“Don’t let the serious face fool you,” Addie chuckled as if reading my mind. “That girl can karaoke “Great Balls of Fire” like nobody’s business!”
The chicken yard seemed quiet after our company left. I poked my head through the window of Coop #1 to see how Charlotte and Peaches were doing. Lottie was straightening her pearls and powdering her comb with more attention than usual. Peaches was mesmerized by the pink-streaked marble given to her, no doubt, by her squeamish sister. I left the two of them alone and took the short walk to Mom’s office window. Three beak raps later, and she appeared.
“I’m sorry,” I stated before she had a chance to speak. “It’s a long story and if you have the time, I’d love to tell you over a pot of tea and a marigold scone.”
“Meet you at the patio in five!” Mom replied hastily closing the window.
I hopped into a patio chair, letting my legs swing dreamily off its edge. The air was getting chilled. Night would fall before I headed back to the henhouse. Mom came out of the door with a blanket, a juice pouch for each of us, and the last bite of her ham and cheese sandwich which she instantly handed over to me.
“I know you said tea and scones, but I saw that you didn’t bring any. We’ll have them tomorrow. For now… spill with the details. Why was Betty on her belly in the herb garden acting as if she were on field maneuvers?”
I handed mom my juice pack to open and crawled up into her lap. It was toasty warm under the blanket. I started to doze, but before I fell sound asleep, I remember saying to her, “Mom… we’re going to need a new mailman.”