January 13, 2015 – Hello. This is Peaches. Happy is sleeping because she passed out today. It’s my turn to watch over her. Lottie said that Happy is going to be just fine, as soon as those “wretched toxins pass through her nibbly bits” – whatever that means. All I know is that one minute Happy had her head inside Lottie’s pocketbook, and the next second she was down on the ground with her beak open as wide as a mountain tunnel and her eyes rolled back in her head.
It all started when I misplaced my pet stick. Happy and Sawyer were heading out to the library to return the cook books Sawyer borrowed last week, when they noticed me searching for it, and offered to help. Happy wondered where I last saw him. I recounted that Charlotte and Addie had asked me to give them a hand winding their yarn balls. I needed both wings free, so I put Stick down in the third nest box on the left. Then I got a terrible tickle in my throat from the woolen fibers. Lottie stopped her winding and reached for her purse, which just so happened to be hanging on a peg inside the same nest box. She pulled out a juicy piece of gum and handed it to me.
Happy is very smart. She said, “I deduce, dear Peaches, that your pet stick somehow made its way into Lottie’s pocketbook during the exchange of gum.”
Then she asked Charlotte if she might examine the inside her purse, and Lottie agreed. Happy opened the clutch and shoved her head deep inside its cavernous walls. Two seconds later, she passed out on the floor.
“HAPPY!” we screamed. “WAKE UP!! WHAT’S HAPPENED TO YOU?!”
Wilma wandered by our door at that exact moment. “Great balls of fur,” she uttered. “What has that dimwit done now?”
I thought she meant me, so I replied, “I lost my stick”.
Wilma called me over to the door. Then she pecked me in the head and said, “Not you, you twig-hugging, freak! What happened to Happy?”
Wilma can be rude. Sawyer told me to ignore her and focus on bringing Happy back to life.
“What was in your purse?!” Addie pressured Lottie.
“Oh, Dear!” Lottie fretted. “I have in there only what I truly need! An emery board, a few silver coins, a compact, a token that I found with a picture of a duck in a washtub. I thought I’d give that to Peaches to hand to her friend Francis Drake.”
I thought that was awfully nice of her.
Lottie picked up her pocketbook. The inside of her purse smelled like roses. One by one, she emptied its contents onto the floor.
“Oh, yes. Here is my lace handkerchief, a ticket for a free movie rental, the beak balm Happy gave me yesterday, my pearls, a box of raisins, three paperclips, a picture of Addie and me when we went to the fair and popped into one of those photo booths… remember that Addie? We laughed until I wet my feathers!”
Addie chuckled remembering the fond memory and nodded her head.
“The only other item,” Lottie continued, “is this tiny tin of mints.”
She placed it in her wing and fanned it slowly under our beaks.
“You don’t think the mints could have knocked her out cold, do you?” asked Sawyer.
Lottie opened the canister and took a whiff.
“I don’t know,” she answered honestly. “Personally, I like the smell.”
She passed the tin by our faces for a second inspection. We leaned closer, this time inhaling deeply.
“SWEET VIRGINIA!” Sawyer exclaimed, clutching her chest and stumbling back toward the wall. “How old are those?!”
“I don’t know,” Charlotte admitted. “I picked them out of an old tote Mom had in the garage. I hadn’t opened them before today. Oh, Dear! Have they gone bad?”
“Bad is an understatement,” said Addie, turning the tin upside down. “The expiration date was December 1999! That’s 15 years ago!!”
“So… they’re not good?” Lottie asked innocently.
“They’re probably lethal!” charged Sawyer.
All the while this investigation was underway, poor Happy lay lifeless at our feet. While the others were embroiled in finger-pointing and calendar counting, I moved in. Happy had a nice look on her face. Her breath smelled terrific! Then, I saw something jutting out from beneath her head. It was my pet stick! I couldn’t believe my good fortune! I gave it a solid yank. Happy’s head jerked upwards before slamming back down into the pine shavings. She didn’t even wake up! I, on the other hand, let out a joyous “whoop!”, thrilled to have located my stoic companion. I had so missed my stick!
I was filling Stick in on what had transpired, when Waffles and Betty showed up with a stretcher. They rolled Happy’s body on to the canvas bed and as quickly as they arrived, hustled her off to Coop #3. An hour later, Addie told me that Happy had wakened, but would need constant supervision for the next 24 hours. We each had to take a turn watching her as she slipped in and out of sleep. I was bored by this task, and looked around for something to do. I spotted Happy’s laptop and that, ladies and germs, is how I, Peaches the hen, found my way to the posting page of Happy’s Journal.
As I mentioned, Happy is going to be fine. She survived the great 15-year mint disaster and in a roundabout way, found my pet stick. I will send Happy a thank you note tomorrow when she is capable of reading mail. All in all, it’s been a great day.
PS: I’m hungry. I wonder if Lottie still has that box of raisins in her purse?