March 31, 2015 – Today, under a brilliant noontime sun, I climbed the stone steps that lead into the Town Hall and took my official oath as Library Trustee. I was certain that Eunice was enjoying her time in Chicken, Alaska, miles and miles away from our lovely state of New Hampshire. My flockmates were not as confident. They took it amongst themselves to form a security detail on my behalf, lining both sides of the stairs as I made my entrance. Tim and Bo were decked out in black tuxedoes and bow ties. Charlotte, Addie and Emaline wore their finest pearls around their lustrous, cream-colored necks. They wore pretty white gloves too, that stretched all the way up to their elbows, from which, hung equally smart, black, patent leather pocketbooks.
Wilma’s attire was dual purpose. On her head she wore a lovely, pale-blue pillbox hat whose brim was trimmed with violets and baby’s breath. She did not carry a purse or wear gloves of any length. Instead, her right wing brandished her weapon of choice… a hefty, cast iron skillet. “Should there be a surprise appearance by our archenemy Eunice,” Wilma explained, “the flat end of a frying pan will be the first thing to greet her!” Surprisingly, I found great comfort in her words.
All of the hens from our flock – as well as the ducks, were dressed to impress. This was a monumental day for us, and we wanted to give it the respect it deserved. That is why I chose to wear my colander helmet. Violet did a smashing job decorating it by weaving plastic dandelions in and out of the holes. I waited to put it on until we were in the parking lot of the Town Hall. I strapped it snuggly under my chin. It felt heavier than normal, but the oohhs and aahhs coming from the other hens, told me that I looked spectacular, and any insecurity, melted away.
“You are sensational!” Violet clucked, standing back to admire her work.
“Are you ready?” asked Sawyer, mindful that it was time to go.
I glanced around at my friends, dressed in all their finery. What a handsome group of chickens we are! I mouthed thank you, to them for always standing with me and having my back. I took a deep breath, and then… in my sunny, stainless steel bonnet, took the first steps toward a new and exciting chapter in my life.
Once inside the building, it wasn’t clear to us where to go. A man in a checked shirt with a wide belt buckle shaped like a grizzly bear, pointed us in the direction of the Town Clerk’s office. There, a pleasant woman by the name of Mary, poked her face through a round cut out in the glass window. She smiled when she saw my beautiful helmet.
“Well, now…” she greeted in a kind voice. “Don’t you look cheerful!”
“We’re here for Happy’s swearing-in as Library Trustee,” Sawyer inserted, quite business-like. I made a mental note to give her a post within my cabinet. She did a fine job as my campaign manager. You don’t find talent like that every day.
“Oh, my!” the woman responded. “It is a special day, indeed!”
She instructed us to wait for her in a little office down the hall. The room was empty except for a wooden platform built into one corner. It was small even by chicken standards. On the stage was an American flag proudly displayed in its metal stand. A couple of minutes later, Mary entered the room with Penny, the newspaper reporter for the Small Town Gazette. Mary had me stand on the platform in front of the flag and raise my right wing. Next, she asked Sawyer to stand in front of me and hold a book entitled, “Policies and Procedures for Library Administration and Executive Trustees”. She told me to place my left wing on the manual and look at Penny, while Penny snapped my picture for the paper. Then, she asked me to respond to the following questions.
“Happy, do you solemnly swear before me, Penny, and your entire flock that you will uphold the duties of the position to which you were recently elected?”
My voice cracked with emotion. “I do.”
“Do you promise to attend as many library trustee meetings as you can, and while there, act in a clear and present mind, fulfilling the obligations of your office on behalf of the good people… and animals, of this town?”
“Yes, Miss Mary, I do.”
“Then, by the power vested in me as the woman who issues car registrations and dump stickers, it is my distinct honor to deliver this photocopied manual to you, and officially declare you, Happy the Hen – Library Trustee. Congratulations!”
Everyone in the room cheered. Penny snapped a few more photographs before wishing me well and heading off to interview the principal at the elementary school.
“Heck of a swearing-in, Hap!” Bo crowed.
“It certainly was!” beamed Peaches.
“The ceremony was lovely, just lovely!” gushed Lottie.
“I’d say it’s time for a celebration!” said Mom, who had sneaked into the room just before the ceremony began. I thought it was terribly thoughtful of her to take time away from work to be there with me. She said she wouldn’t have missed it. After all the well wishes, we walked across the street with Mom to the ice cream shop, where we enjoyed several bowls of Wild Maine Blueberry Frozen Yogurt. More than once I had a brain freeze, but it was entirely worth it!
I wore my fancy colander helmet for the rest of the day. The roosters remained in their tuxedos and the ladies stayed in their pearls and pretty gloves. Wilma finally put down the skillet. It was a grand day!