On Thanksgiving, two days before our 47th wedding anniversary (which happens to be today), we went to the mommies’ house in Seattle. We joined up with a daddy (Tim), a grandma (Barb, birth mother of Random Granddaughter’s birth mother) and Barb’s second husband Ken. Also present was Tim’s stepdad, Joe. As well as Dana, birth mother of Tim. I should not forget, Sylvie, the world’s most lovable cat. Even though Sylvie is fatally ill with cancer, she managed to purr and come down stairs and demand laps to sit on.
My wife said, when we arrived, “Don’t talk about religion,” a few minutes after we arrived Joe (who is a Methodist minister in Colorado), began talking about religion. I told him that I am an atheist and had started an atheist “church” on Whidbey Island. Joe said that he is an agnostic, and would like to meet with the members of my atheist group to chat with them. Ken said that he was happy now being retired, and had been a minister at one time. I told Joe to tell my wife that he had started the discussion about religion.
We ate well. The turkey (and everything else) was done to perfection. (My wife had brought peas with bacon, also excellent.) Eventually, sated and happy, we headed for home. My wife said, “Check on the chickens.” The chickens, supposedly safe behind a closed gate, mesh, and electric fence had put themselves to bed on the roost.
I looked in the coop door. I counted three gray chickens and one black chicken. There is supposed to two black chickens. Outside, it was dark and wet. I began to search in the dark with my electric torch. After a while I found a shredded black chicken carcass in a corner of the run. Once before a chicken hawk had squeezed through the mesh and attacked Big Mama, my wife’s favorite chicken. It seemed obvious to me that a hawk had got in again and had black chicken for Thanksgiving dinner. It was too dark to examine for more clues. I went inside, ruined my wife’s Thanksgiving by telling her about the loss of a hen. Sadly, we went to bed.
In the morning we went outside. We put the dead hen in a paper bag. We cleaned up the feathers and mess. We put her in the woods and covered her with the dirt we had dug up. We did not provide a funeral service.
We thought one of the elder hens would be the first to go. They are now close to too old to lay eggs any more. We had not figured out what to do with them when we get some new chicks and there will not be enough room. Now we will be down to one egg a day at best. The one black hen looks very forlorn out scratching and pecking by herself for most of the day.
At the gym, another person told me, “I moved to Whidbey in 1972. I bought a farm. I bought some Bantam chickens and let them run loose in the woods. They laid eggs and raised chicks. They roosted in the trees. At night I would hear an occasional squawk as an owl caught a chicken.”
A lot of people on Whidbey Island worship nature. Nature is nice, but it’s not that pretty.