Will You Marry Me

Another story after talking with my mom the other day…..

“Tom, NO, that’s the kitty food!” I quickly grabbed the can from my husband’s hands before he could take another bite. “Honey, that is canned cat food, we don’t eat that,” I said to him while scraping the canned bits into the sink. He looked at me with a grasping look and shuffled out of the kitchen and back into the den. After the can was free of all remaining turkey giblets, I wearily hung my head, arms stretched over to the side of the sink as I gripped the porcelain edge. I cried. The faucet spewed out clear water as my tears mixed in, slowly disappearing down the drain. Sometimes, I now wonder how long I can keep this up… this blunt unhappy circus that has taken over.

I join my confused husband of 63 years in the tiny TV room, the only one we fully heat due to the monthly nemesis known as NIPSCO. I watch as Tom sits in the overstuffed lazy boy chair staring at the box that flashes nonsensical images and jumbled words. I plop into my matching chair and look over to my love, my man, my one and only. I give him a slight smile and ask him how he’s feeling. He returns the glance, only his is filled with the now normal ‘I don’t know you’ look.

There are times I just want to shake that dreadful disease out of his brain and at the same time relieve some of my own built up stress. I resist the urge and I kneel in front of him even though my knees beg me not to. “Hon, it’s me, Donna, your wife…remember”? He shakes his head no and turns away so I don’t see his lip quiver in frustration. I take his now ancient hand into my own, putting it up to my cheek. I tightly close my watered eyes as I feel the fading warmth of his skin against mine.

I let myself float back to a happier moment. I am 17 years old, walking along the beach of Lake Michigan in the summer of ‘51. I am holding the hand of my boyfriend, Tommy. We talk about school, playfully kicking sand at each other. We stroll ankle-deep into the inviting blue water. I have my head on his shoulder as his strong farm boy arm wraps around my waist. We walk for a little while in silence, enjoying our togetherness. The setting sun silhouettes us with a backdrop of orange as seagulls circle high above, swooping down once in a while screeching for food.

Tommy hands me a small brown paper bag from the local drug store, asking me if I want some candy that he brought along. I’m enjoying his presence and the world around me and I politely say no, pushing his hand away. He insists that I take some of the ‘special treats’ he picked out just for me. I stop as warm water invites me to put my hand inside this wrinkled bag. “Where is the candy?” I wonder. Instead, I pull out a tiny blue velvet box. I turn it over and over in my hands, not sure what it is I’m looking at. I look at Tommy, he is on his knees in front of me with jet black hair blowing in the summer breeze. A smile breaks from ear to ear, his eyes twinkling in the sun. I put my hand to my mouth as I hear those Cinderella words that little girls dream about, “Will you marry me?” Time pauses, but for a moment.

I’m still standing there, not moving except for the tears that are now running down my cheeks. Tommy gets up from the sand and takes the box from my clutched fingers and opens it. He puts the box back into my now shaking hands and there it was! My promise that I will wear for the next 63 years! A tiny gold ring with a small diamond chip that was so small you almost had to squint to see it. In my heart, it is the most beautiful, biggest rock I had ever seen! He took it out, slipped it onto my finger and asked me again, nose to nose, in a whisper that only my heart could hear. “Will you marry me?” I shook my head YES, over and over, as my tears are now joined with a muffled cry into his firm shoulder. I hugged my Tommy, gently kissing him. I recall on the way back to my parent’s house, I sat on his lap as he was trying to drive my father’s 1949 Dodge. My legs were on the passenger seat kicking as I smooched his sunburned face over and over. I still don’t know how we made it home!

The memory of my engagement is so fresh that my aching heart can still smell the water and feel his touch. I open my eyes and look at my present life and see Tom struggling with his confusion. He gets up and goes back to the kitchen looking for the snack he has already eaten minutes ago. He picks up another can of cat food and opens the silverware drawer looking for the opener. I once again take the can out of his hands, reminding myself to hide it another cabinet. I get out some cookies and hand the plate to him. My Tommy is a toddler. My devotion and commitment to my beloved Tom is not. I love my Husband of 6 decades, I am waiting… needing him to come back home to me.

The calling Fog

He shuffles through the dirty slush as it seeps over the sides of his worn brown loafers. His white socks, now wet with the winter grime, change to the same color of his shoes. Clouded blue eyes and accompanying gray thoughts are fixed on the road ahead. His breath coming out in short puffs as his heart beats in syncopation with each step . Clump, clump clump…the feet persist forward. The fog, inside his confused thoughts, compels him to keep walking..go faster…don’t stop!

He isn’t sure where it is taking him, he just knows he has to get there soon. The cars speed past him, some even slow down with a concerned driver asking if he needs a ride. The elderly man, with an unfinished business calling, refuses to look up and casually waves the driver to keep going, to leave him alone. Walk…he walks. He must get to…where? He stops and looks around at homes that do not look familiar. He shakes his head trying to remember where it was that he was headed to. It doesn’t matter, he only knows that he must walk.

He shuffles down the sidewalk and heads for the highway that will take him back to the place he once belonged. He persists. After what seems like hours, the elderly man stops again, listening to the mysterious voice he hears calling out his name in the far distance. He shields his eyes from the glaring sun reflecting off the snow and squints to see where the sound is coming from. The voice calls out again, “Tom, honey, come this way”. Where…what way? “Hon, over here, come and get in the car, let’s go home”.

He is confused. The fog is enticing him to keep walking but the unfamiliar voice, comforting, beckons him to turn around and abandon the adventure. The mist inside his mind wins, he walks faster. The voice follows him, calling him back to the place he was trying to escape from. “Must go, need to get away, walk”. After 10 minutes of fighting the voice and fog battle, he gives up and lets the sound of love reach his heart. He swings around and grabs the door handle. He sits with the woman who claims to have known him for the last 63 years, but her claims don’t register. He only wants to go somewhere warm and take off the soaked shoes and frozen socks. He leans back into the leather seat and closes his eyes. A lone tear escapes, announcing his defeat.

The nice lady puts a comforting hand on his arm and squeezes it. He looks over and softly asks, “Donna”? She looks at him with shock. He seems to know who this woman is, his wife, his first love and life partner. They drive home in silence, the old man, slipping back into his dampening fog, and the devoted wife. She will eventually follow him again in the old and faithful red Cadillac, when the fog tells him to walk to that unseen place that he must get to for a reason that is unknown even to him.

 

 

ALL STORIES ARE COPYRIGHTED

Cody our faithful retriever

Ta Ta, Cody

We have a faithful aging dog, a golden retriever mix with speckled Spaniel feet.  Cody, or affectionately known to us as “Ta Ta”,  is now 17 years old, that’s around 119 in human years.  Cody came to us from the animal shelter here in Laporte, Indiana and, we were told, arrived at the shelter after being found as a runaway bolting down a State highway.  Chad and I had been married less than a year and had just moved into our sprawling Victorian-era home on C Street with our blended family of 8.  On the day Cody found me, I was looking at the pup in the cage next to him, I really wanted a puppy, but my eyes kept going over to Cody.  He was standing there with tail wagging and a ‘PICK ME’ persistence trying to woo me through his prison cell.  I tried to ignore him and asked to see the little spotted doggy as I desired to own a little dog, not a full grown retriever.  I took the pup out and kissed him thinking how adorable he was.  Out of the corner of my eye, I could see ‘that dog’, wiggling his whole body, shifting from one paw to the other, staring at me with gleeful energy!  I put the puppy back and walked over to Cody who was now into a full blown body wag and eyes dancing with a doggy love gleam!  I put my hand through the bars and touched him, that’s all it took.  One touch and a bond of love was formed that is still going strong 14 years later.  

Cody has been loyal and faithful.  He gives hugs and is, in every sense, a family dog.  Cody could run with the wind and every bit an expert escape artist.  If there was a way to get free to the world beyond the house and yard, Cody found it.  We found him running down the highway almost 10 miles from our house once.  We bailed him out of jail more than 3 times and spent many nights sitting up worried because he was indiscriminately exploring the neighborhood.  We also met some very nice families who brought Cody back to us after finding him kissing their children in backyards miles away.  Cody had a wandering and free spirit true to the ‘in the hunt’ nature of his untamed breed. He loved to run and if a chase could be had, it was all GO, especially as Cody was the bane of LaPorte’s rabbit community.

Our faithful dog is now a senior citizen and has trouble walking.  He goes up the stairs slowly and carefully on shaky legs unlike the days when he would leap up the stairs in 4 or 5 graceful bounds.  Now he gets up slow, most times I help, trying to steady him on legs that seem too weak to hold up his frail body.  When standing, he follows his people and props himself up against any solid object that allows him to maintain close contact.  Cody is also 100% deaf, all the words of praise and the sounds that only he could hear as a canine are now fading memories.  He can’t hear me, but he can see me…barely through milky white cataracts.   He can feel my touch and understands ‘doggy sign language’.

Our wonderful boy sleeps allot, always next to me.  I’m never out his clouded sight.  No matter how much I try to sneak away from my deaf dog, he knows when I’m moving and automatically wakes up to see where I’m going.  If I am on the move, this faithful companion will force his tired and aching bones to get up and follow me.  I have tried to get him to just lay still, not to come with me but he can’t help himself.  He needs to be with his mommy and the potential for one more adventurous pursuit.  Our 17 year old dog, who was once young, strong and full of energy, still fulfills his duties to his family.  He spends every waking moment with us, living each day as though it may be his last.  

I’ve noticed that my friend and companion has really slowed down the last week or two.  Even though he is determined to be with me, it is hard for him to tag along.  I keep an extra dog bed next to my lazy boy recliner so I can rest my hand on his body, softly caressing him as he sleeps next to me.  Every now and then Cody will pop up his head and look at me, tail slightly wagging like the first day we bonded.  His eyes locked onto mine, the connection, the love being spoken from human to dog.  It’s almost like he’s trying to tell me something, trying to make me understand.  During those special times, I will wrap my left arm around his neck and do a nose to nose with him, letting him know that I love him, that all is okay, that mommy is still here and she isn’t going anywhere.  I found him, I brought him home, I shared my life, my family, our love with him and I will help him ease into the next stage.  The other day I caught a glimpse of this as Cody hobbled outside only to have an unsuspecting white tailed rabbit hop by in the snow and, without pause, Cody bounded over the snow drift, once again momentarily free, young, healthy and running like the wind only 1 step behind.  Ta Ta, Cody!

 

My Toddler husband

 This is a story I wrote after listening to my mom describe a now normal day with my daddy….

Honey, lift up your leg and put it though the hole here…that’s good hon…now let’s do the other leg… yes, that one, good job! Okay, let’s put on our shirt…yes, that is yours on the bed”.   As I hear myself repeat the same daily sequence of words, my heart tells me to remember he is not a two year old child, but an 81 year old man.  He is my man, my husband of 62 years.  This man, a captain of industry who built a multi-million dollar tool & dye shop by flying all over the country to negotiate deals, supported a family business  nestled in the heart of town.  This proud man who only a bit over a decade ago won the Indiana Small Business Leader award 20 years ago despite only armed with a  high school diploma!

This my life, our life, a shadow of the promised retirement of leisure sharing life with Tom in our Florida PGA golf course home.  I didn’t plan on this nor did I prepare for it.  The life I dreamed of started 64 years ago in the office building of the Kingsbury Locker Plant.  I was 16 years old, giggling with my older sister Barb about the cute new factory worker, my soon to be soul mate.  Tom, the shy farm boy from Kansas, rode into town in the back of a junky 1940s Ford pick-up truck with 4 other young farmer escapees.  Our eyes would occasionally meet, his faint smile matching my own.  At the persistent teasing of my bossy sibling, we went on a group date and have never been apart since. We worked together, raised a family, built a business, traveled the world and shared a love that never wavered.  

Now, here we are in our Golden years, the time when we are supposed to reap the rewards of our labor.  The hoped for latter years of holding hands, going for leisurely walks and enjoying great grandchildren, have been replaced by an ongoing struggle to simply live together.  Like the chalkboard of his one room schoolhouse youth, my life partner’s memories of who I am are now erased, including the simplest understandings of what it means to live and how to do it.  I do not have an escape, nor am I seeking one.  I hold tightly for us both the memories etched in my heart, never buried, not forgotten.  I live in a routine with a repetition of words that unceasingly mock my hope.  “I am your wife, Donna…yes, you live here….we are home….these are your clothes, you wear them….yes, that is a chair that you sit on….no honey, that’s a glass not a bucket….it’s called a cat, his name is Jake”.  Today, as I dress my toddler husband, I keep the flowing tears inside my heart not on my cheeks.  I kiss my love on the forehead when we are done and take his aged, trusting hand into mine, leading him to the den knowing that I will explain again “what a chair is…that he sits in it…yes, the little black ball of fur that adores you is indeed a cat that lives with us…that no, I won’t be leaving, that I too live here and my dear one…my name is Donna”.

ALL STORIES ARE COPYRIGHTED!

 

 

GOLDEN, RETRIEVER

My mother and father came over to Addie Acres the other day for a visit.  Dad usually sits on the far end of the couch watching us ‘strangers’ with a blank smile.  He will be 81 this March and has lost 98% of his memories.  Our faithful retriever, Cody, is golden in many ways as he is approaching 17 in human years with cloudy eyes and a painstaking gate. As I watched, Cody gently rested his head on dad’s lap.  My father, not knowing Cody anymore, looked down at him with confusion, not sure what to do with this dog.  Cody stood there on his shaky legs, tail wagging, and waited for my dad to acknowledge him.  After about 2 minutes, dad finally put his aged wrinkled hand on top of Cody’s now gray-speckled head.  The elderly dog looked up at him through once-brown milky white cataract eyes, trying to pierce through my father’s fog.  It seemed as if he was inviting him to remember.   My dad sparked momentarily and appeared to connect beyond his mind’s capacity, perhaps from a place deep within his heart.  I could see the confusion soften a little as he started to rub the soft fur around his ears like he always had before the disease ate away at his personality.  I’m sure it was painful for Cody to stand there on his arthritic legs as fur was both petted and pulled, yet he faithfully stayed his ground with dad.  Before long, it became clear that the two of them were communicating with each other. Their eyes were locked, no words or sounds being exchanged.  For a moment, both were once young again, pain free, reminiscing about a life lived richly and full of new discoveries. I wondered if the golden retriever’s memories of chasing rabbits and prancing around his humans melded with my father’s own of plowing the field behind a mule, muscular and strong.  The old man and the aging canine connected for a moment, for a lifetime.  Years of memories for each mixed with indifference and yet arriving at similar ends.  Cody, the faithful, sensing the increasing fog slid away from my father and eased his aching bones down next to me.  My daddy straightened his back and wiped away a tear before the cold mist of memory lost had fully rolled in, but not before mutual understanding broke through and our golden Cody had retrieved, even for a moment, hope from years gone by.  

ALL STORIES ARE COPYRIGHTED!

My Daddy

My daddy.  The man who used to pick up my little sister and I and throw us dangerously into the air as we screamed with delight (and fright!) is now reduced to sitting quietly in the lazy boy recliner, staring confusingly into space, trying to recapture those moments in time when the world around him made sense.  He looks at us with a smile, eyes searching for a name, trying to find a place in his life …that we were in.  He fails.  My daddy, the man who would slop down 4 kids half eaten ice cream cones on a hot summer day standing in front of Dairy Queen.  The same place Big C Lumber now dominates hears the echoes of my mother and her teeny bopper high school girlfriends catching up on gossip, ladies who were barely women, giggling like the girls inside still found in their hearts!  My daddy, the man who would dare to take 4 children, a poodle and a pull-behind trailer across country from Indiana to California just to go experience Disney Land, the ‘Four Corners’, and go to Hollywood to throw fake boulders at us.  Now, he takes off down the road believing he has to get to Ohio or Florida because an unseen force  beckons him to flee, to complete that important business deal or that unfinished something he forgot to complete on his ‘Life List’ of things to accomplish.  My daddy, the man with the warm inviting smile and corny jokes always drew rolling eyes from those who loved him most.  In the dim-lit TV light, he now grins with caution at us strangers and his jokes are locked somewhere inside his forgotten memory.  My daddy, the man I grew up to admire and love is now lost to his family, the people who will gently guide him back to the house from down the highway and babble at him about the farm life he grew up in, hoping it will spark a memory.  My daddy, the man who loved his family with a passion is trying to figure out who we are through white-out conditions of cold and foggy memory.  My daddy is gone, yet deep inside, I must believe, is a little girl’s hero, twirling her high into the air, still holding the pet salamander knowing he would  get out the perfect crusty fish bowl for ‘Sally’ to live in.  My daddy isn’t gone, he just lives somewhere else.

ALL STORIES ARE COPYRIGHTED

Ever Green

Ever Green By Nancy (Teter) Addie
I went to a garage sale today at 113 Evergreen Drive.  It also was the neighborhood where I grew up.  Evergreen drive is off of Monroe Street in rustic LaPorte, Indiana and, in the early 1960s, was a brand new neighborhood with young families.  The grassy center of a modern circular drive featured homes springing up similar to the tiny evergreen trees planted around it.  As fresh as the neighborhood appeared from the front, a conversely spooky swamp and small woods claimed space behind the homes.  My mother and father designed and built the house in the Circle at 119 Evergreen Drive and moved our growing family into the new house in 1962.  I was just shy of turning 3 years old.   My Nana and Poppy lived 2 houses down from our new home, Dr. Mueller lived next door and the strawberry patch growing wild in the field on the right side of the house soon became home for the Rosenows.  I can remember the smell of the new house and running through it with my siblings before we moved in.  It was a wonderful place to raise a family!  New homes and growing families like ours soon filled up the Circle, lots of kids, pets and a swamp to call our own!  We dug up arrow heads, pottery, and lots of ‘Indian beads’! Every summer we played kick-the-can and went on salamander hunts.  Mueller’s had the only built-in pool and we spent many hot days cooling off in the clear blue water! 
So today, I stopped in front of our past, looking at the huge Birch tree that us kids helped daddy plant, who would years prior get mad at us for jumping over it.  The huge cast iron school bell that my dad would BONG for us to come home “NOW” is now gone. I can still hear the steadily increasing ringing that screamed “COME HOME” and indicated how mad he was the faster it rang.  The tiny evergreens that we could playfully step over are now towering pines that look as old as the dated houses still there.  The swamp now has a new house invading its space and our bike trails and tree house are memorialized by dust and climbing weeds.  My Nana and Poppy are gone, so are most of our friend’s parents, their memories swept away in the evergreen scented wind.  I cried.  I sat there in my jeep crying over my childhood, crying for my grandparents, crying for my puddle at the end of Rosenows driveway where I spent many days playing in the warm water with my Barbies.  I cried for the youth of my mommy and daddy with their new family, big dreams and hope for a life filled with laughter and joy as they moved boxes of soon to be new memories inside the house of 119 Evergreen Dr!  I cried thankful tears all the way home as now I am the grandma with new memories and a family of my own.  Still, I can’t help but long for my childhood and the days of swinging my feet under the kitchen table, eating peanut butter sandwiches with my baby sister, and giggling as my mama gave us her ‘you eat-don’t play’ look!  My mother is now 80, my father is slowing losing his own memories, their youth along with Evergreen Drive is but a distant memory.  I drove slowly out of the Circle, I didn’t want to leave, I felt the need to hang onto my family, to turn around and will it back into existence!  Then, I thought of Isaac, my grand-baby, my joy and blessing, it Was then I realized in and through this child, 119 Evergreen Drive still lives, ever green.

ALL STORIES ARE COPYRIGHTED

The Ring

The Ring

 

My mother held a treasured item, rolling it around in her fingers.  A slight smile was on her lips.  Her eyes were misty as thoughts of a life lived a long time ago gently transferred from her heart to a gold ring with 3 tiny diamond chips.  She looked at me with mixed joy and sadness, as she handed over “the ring” with hands warmly cupping mine.  Her wrinkled hands were smooth when this ring was slid onto her finger 62 years ago and was now being passed down to a daughter, a next generation.  She told me to take the ring that she has lovingly cared for, to pass on the love it possessed.  When she finally let go, I looked at the tiny gold circle nestled in my hand and envisioned my mother and father 6 decades ago standing at the altar.  With heads bowed together in front of the family priest, my father’s farm-strong 18 year old hand slipped it onto his 17 year old bride’s finger as sniffled and muffled sounds of joy came from the generation of mothers and fathers before them.  This ring picked out by my father so long ago with very little money would witness a shared life between two hearts’ desire.  I could almost see my dad of that time, tall and lanky, with acne betraying his youthfulness.  Dad’s dark hair fell into his eyes as he searched the jewelry counter for that perfect ring.  I could see him holding it up above his head into the light with a smile on his love struck face with expectation that with this ring pledged words, ‘for better, for worse’ would be heard.  I see my mother standing with him before silent saints and yellow roses, shaking as she accepts the pledge placed on her finger with ‘in sickness and in health’ whispered from her lips to his ears.  I look at the ring with so much to tell and I realize that the love story is not ending.   It is only beginning a final chapter of two people with 60 years of promises kept to cherish and to honor one another through peaceful times and weathered storms.  My parents made that pledge and not once did they give up on their marriage or each other.  Today, my father’s fading eyes look at my mother and he will ask her who she is and when can he go home to his wife.  With her unbroken vows of ‘in sickness and in health’, she takes his aged hand into hers and tells him for the 20th time in less than 12 hours who she is and that he is already home.  He is forever locked inside her heart even though his memories of her are lost in his decaying mind.  My mother and father’s symbol of an unbroken bond between them is now on my finger.  The ring reminds me of two kids who stood before man and God faithfully, assuring ‘until death do us part’.
ALL STORIES ARE COPYRIGHTED

 

A Home Once Again

Tonight, I walked through our antique Victorian home with the smooth round wooden pillars that reach for the ceiling, greeting Douglas Fir trim that outlines every room from top to bottom. We were talking with a young newly-blended family of 6 looking fresh at this possible new home. Their children are about the same age as mine and Chad’s when we first entered into the large… and inviting house almost 14 years ago. Our home, empty again, tonight calls for another family to love, cherish and bring laughter to fill up the loneliness. As Chad was giving the tour, filling in the blanks of excited questions, I pulled back a bit and put my hand on the wall going up the stairs. I was instantly taken back into time and a prior time unfolded inside the vision of my heart. I saw 3 little blonde children rushing past me, shoving one another with giggles and excitement to see what was hiding around the corners of this house of new adventures. The boys ran up into the attic while the petite always-by-my-side blonde took my hand and led me to a room she hoped to call her own without sharing it with little sister. As I sensed each room’s invitation, I could feel the presence of our family inside every one, a new beginning, a second chance, just like God had shown me before the vows were spoken. I could see us all those years ago, unpacking boxes, with new furniture picked out for the kids, and a dog that resembled a wolf exploring the backyard and marking her territory. We were the new family of this sage Victorian whose doors had welcomed other hopeful, dreaming families before. As I was remembering my past, Chad walked past me with my home’s new family in tow. I could feel their excitement and growing love for this house just like I did so many years ago. My flesh wanted to ask them to leave my home, but my heart told me to let it go. I wanted to float back into time and hold those dear to me and start over again. I needed to hear the kids laugh once more, to hold them close and say what needed to be said, to grab ahold of those lost words that were never spoken but longed to be heard. My family, with dreams, hopes and a future, walked through that stain glass door 14 years ago, now gives way to the adults they have become with promised little ones of their own. Chad and I are now walking hand and hand at the edge of the empty nest with grandchildren and a different family, another one made of two. A new chapter is being written in this stage of life as our once new family’s pages turn and a new one begins.

ALL STORIES ARE COPYRIGHTED

Marge The Chicken

Twenty pairs of wide eyes watch in wonderment at the sight unfolding before them.  Inside a homemade incubator lay 6 white chicken eggs, 4 were hatching.  The school bell rings, nobody hears, nobody moves.  As noses push up against the smudged glass and elbows push bodies out of their way, I watch with excitement as this year’s 5th grade school experiment comes to life before my eyes!  My soon-to-be new pet is fighting its way out and the beginning of a childhood love affair between a little girl with the classic bob cut hairdo and a chicken named Marge.  With pleas and promises, my parents reluctantly say yes to the new pet.  I proudly bring Marge, the little yellow puff ball, home in a shoe box.  My little sister and I make a cozy home for Marge in an old floppy cardboard box and it has everything a chick could possibly want including a few stuffed animals.  Marge sleeps next to my bed with my arm dangling off the side, my hand gently stroking her as we both drift off to sleep.  Marge grows quickly, shedding her yellow fluff as strong white feathers emerge.  She now thinks and acts like a dog, coming when you call her, napping in our laps and following us everywhere we went outside.  As Marge grows, so did her slurry of ‘droppings’.  So, of course, we have the bright idea to put a diaper on her.  It worked!!  Marge the chicken soon has free range of the entire house.  Marge becomes the neighborhood favorite pet.  She rides in the vinyl white basket with pink daisies on my stingray bike.  My friends and I take turns pushing her around inside my doll buggy on our way to play in our tree house with the small feathered mascot. Oh, how we all love Marge!  Everyone wants to hold her and play fetch with my puppy chicken.  Marge grows to about the size of our toy poodle who wants nothing to do with her.  One morning, around 5:30am, the family was abruptly awaken with screeching coming up from the basement.  My parents, brothers, little sister and I rushed down into the basement to save whatever it is in such terrible pain!  We burst into the laundry room and found Marge sitting on her little wooden perch looking up at us with a surprised look on her cocked face.  As we stood there whispering to each other, she stretched out her neck as far as it would go and screeched again!  My dad who was born and raised on a prairie farm in Kansas looked at me and said, “Nancy, your hen is a rooster”. My little girl…a boy! My brothers let out a teasing laugh, my sister groaned in sympathy, my mother looked confused and daddy wearily dragged himself back up the stairs mumbling under his breath about ‘having a dang rooster living in his basement’.  I didn’t care! I picked up my now full grown rooster and snuggled him tight in my arms until he fell asleep.  The summer of 1970 will always be a cherished memory in my heart. I had a rooster named Marge who believed he was human and me, well I was the queen of the neighborhood because I had the coolest pet around!

ALL STORIES ARE COPYRIGHTED