IN LIFE AS IN THE DANCE : GRACE GLIDES

ON BLISTERED FEET.
---Alice Abrams

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Chicken Nancy (Not Pelosi, Either!)

I had a beloved white leghorn hen named Nancy. (I couldn't find a picture of a free-range hen because Nancy was never caged!)

She just showed up one day and stayed. I named her Nancy, although I don't have any inkling why. We became best buddies. Even my dog tolerated her! When I wanted to pick her up, she'd squat and lift her wings out making it easy to lift her up into my arms, where she'd cuddle quite contentedly.

She was a rather eccentric old gal. During molting season she wandered into the garage and wouldn't come out until her feathers were almost completely in. My dad let me feed and water her there so she wouldn't have to creep out in the buff to eat.

I grew up in rural Buena Park, (next door to Anaheim) back when there was a "rural" to grow up in. We had strawberries, some fruit trees, and were surrounded by the neighboring farmer's fields of alfalfa and orange groves. Some times he (all I can remember is his first name which was Ted) would take my hand and we'd walk through the orange grove back to his farm where I got to play with the critters. He had horses, cows, goats and of course, chickens. That may have been Nancy's birth place, come to think of it.

One day Nancy and I struck out for a walk and came across a stray dog. My dog had stayed at the house instead of accompanying us. This dog came a little too close for comfort, and Nancy, sensing danger, flew into him! She flew at his head, squawking like a crazy chicken, finally driving him off! My folks thought I'd concocted a humdinger until I finally convinced them that my little feathered friend was also my protector.

I guess she stayed for a couple of years. We had become overridden with chickens and geese. My parents told a couple at church, who were real poor and had a bunch of kids, to come round them up. Well, Nancy got out and she wound up going off with the rest of them. I was heartbroken, and my parents were besides themselves because it happened like that. I still get misty eyed thinking about it.

I know my affection for all things feathered and furry came from my days being able to run wild and free, play in irrigation ditches and get filthy - nobody ever got mad. I always was surrounded by critters. I had parakeets, cats, dogs, big old box turtles, and even (to my mother's horror) a lizard or two. I was especially partial to horned toads. You could rub them between their horns and their eyes would close. I remember thinking how neat that was! My dad would let me keep them for a day or two, then we'd go and let them loose.

I remember dressing my cat, Johnny, in doll's clothes, and tying him down in the baby stroller. My dad made me let him go, and I was forbidden to touch him for a week! I was taught from a very young age to respect all creatures. And for that I'm very grateful.......

Anyway, Nancy was one cool chick!

4 comments:

Empress Bee (of the High Sea) said...

oh what a FUN post. my favorite of all time here honey! are there any more nancy stories? that is really too bad about her leaving like that. made me tear up too...

hugs, bee
xoxoxoxoxoxoxoo

Sandee said...

I was raised on a farm so that chicken would have ended up in the freezer. Just the way we were raised. I never thought of it any different. Everything was just food. Not the dogs or cats of course. I like your way better. I'm there now. Happens to the rest of us as we get older I expect.

Have a terrific day. :)

Mags said...

Aw! I'm sorry Nancy got rounded up with the geese. :( It sounds like she was a fine friend.

Sandy B said...

Dick grew up on a chicken farm in Miami, the youngest of five. The five kids in my family all lived in the city, so I had dogs and cats and the occasional parakeet. I always wanted to rescue any stray fuzzy or winged animal I found, so I can just imagine how broken hearted you were at losing Nancy. Great but sad story.

Big hugs...