Journal of a Living Lady #351
Nancy White Kelly
I haven’t screamed so loudly since I was a ten-year-old running away from a charging bull in a Mississippi pasture. My voice is still squeaky. It all happened so suddenly.
I was sitting at my computer catching up on email when Chipper, our vocal Cockatiel, starting shrieking new bird talk from his front porch perch. Sam, the cat, was purring on my lap so I knew those two were not engaged in claw and beak warfare.
Our small harem of pet hens and the sole rooster roam freely in the yard during the day. From the frantic commotion, it was obvious that something bad was happening or about to. I pushed Sam from my lap and ran out the back door.
Rocky, our sixteen-month-old German shepherd, was having the best chase game of his young life. He had the upper paw. Henny Penny was hemmed up against the fence with no place to go.
I hurried to the creek edge, yelling and running at the same time. It was time for an instant battlefield decision. Charge through the muddy creek water to pull Rocky away from the defenseless hen or hope he would obey the new “come” command we had been practicing.
“Come.” Rocky glanced toward me, obviously annoyed.
“Rocky, come,” I screamed again.
He cocked his head again. What nerve I had to ask him to stop playing and return to his mistress. After the third vocal command in an octave I didn’t know I had, Rocky obeyed. He released the chicken and jumped across the creek. Feathers flowed from his smiling mouth as he sat before me.
I know I was supposed to congratulate him and get all mushy about his canine obedience, but I wasn’t in the mood. Do you give a lollipop to a two-year old who returns to you rather than run into the street in front of a coming car?
I was glad Rocky came, but mad at the same time. My heart was still pounding as I drug him by his collar to his night pen behind the Coin Shop. He was confused at my lack of affirmation and affection, but his psychological well-being wasn’t too concerning to me right now. Henny Penny needed my attention.
I rushed back but was unable to get to her without wading the creek. The little red hen was alive, but sat motionless in obvious shock. Other than a vacant patch of naked skin on her back, there didn’t seem to be any serious damage done.
I decided Henny Penny could wait there until Buddy returned from town. I headed for our cool bedroom to recuperate. What an unexpected, adventurous morning.
I remembered the last time I had such a rush of adrenaline. Buddy and I were ruthless tennis players at the height of the tennis craze in the 70’s. We enjoyed week-end amateur tournaments. The most memorable one was when we dueled with an 80-year-old tennis player and her friend. It was a random draw. Buddy and I smugly grinned, assured that the first round of doubles would be a rout.
The hunched-back little lady and her senior friend could have passed for escapees from the Old Folks Home. No problem. They beat us handily. We meekly left the court in disgrace with a life lesson well-learned. Never underestimate an opponent.
Rocky is fine. The trainer comes tomorrow to help us teach him that chicken-chasing is a “no-no.” As for Henny Penny, we haven’t found her yet.