Saturday, July 06, 2013

Chickens, Yoders, and Daughters

Last Saturday my mother-in-law, Anne, was at an estate sale.  I think her son-in-law's aunt's things were being sold.

She called me.  The connection was terrible.  I heard something about roosters and then we were cut off.

She called twice more.  Roosters.....maybe giving

Finally I just hollered that yes, I'll take them, since the connection wasn't going to get any better and I think that's what she wanted to hear.

Now Anne remembers things about you, like if you are looking for a meat grinding attachment for a KitchenAid mixer, or if you like Harold Bell Wright books or if, like me, you like hen-and-rooster things in your kitchen.  And she really enjoys matching up people and things.

She came for Sunday dinner and brought the roosters that they had given away at the estate sale.  Actually, it was two roosters and one hen.  They are kind of like pillows, very stiff and stuffed, with cardboard in the base so they stand up.

I thought they were cute.  However, they are too tall to set on the shelf above my cupboards, and the colors don't really "go" with my kitchen, and they are definitely not comfortable to sit on as kitchen-chair pillows, and there's no good place for them.

Which puts me in a terrible dilemma, since my thoughtful mother-in-law chose them for me and they are now mine, and they have eyes and shapes and personality.

My daughters didn't want me to keep them.  They were all flippant and logical and unfeeling about this.  "They don't match, and they don't fit anywhere."  As though that decided it.

I said, "You just don't understand.  Surely I can use them somewhere. Poor Grandma.  That was so thoughtful of her."

They said, "Mom, you have No Use for them.  Grandma would understand."

I said, "Hey, I could use them for a neck pillow when I fly!"  I demonstrated this useful purpose.

Jenny, who is 14 and melting with embarrassment about me every time we go out in public* had emphatic and horrified words and facial expressions about this idea.

The older girls said, "Please, Mom, they are ugly."

I said, "They are not.  That much."

They said, "Mom, just GET RID OF THEM."

I wailed, "I CAN'T.  Look at how that hen is just LOOKING at me with those beady little eyes, like she's saying, 'Ya, Dorcas, I know good and well what you're scheming.  Fine! Just throw me in the trash!'" In fact, she looked just like my grandma when she knew we were up to no good, that sharp sideways glance with no smile.  My mom, too, for that matter.


She even looked Amish.  The roosters did too.

The girls looked at each other.

I said, "Besides, someone put a lot of work into these.  Well, quite a bit.  Thankfully they were printed pieces and they didn't have to applique all this."

Emily said, "It's exactly like Aunt Loraine says.  Yoders feel SORRY for THINGS.  Especially for abandoned things that nobody else wants.  They feel they have to RESCUE this poor STUFF."

I had to laugh because that is very true, but there are Yoders who are MUCH worse than me about this, so why couldn't they let me keep these poor chickens that have FEELINGS unlike all the old 3-legged chairs in Dad's barn or the soap Fred rescues from truck-stop shower garbage cans?

I finally put the chickens on the porch on the tea table.  I thought they looked very country and clever.

The girls were momentarily pacified, although I sensed we were not finished with the discussion.  One night they slept outside and needed extra pillows.

They used the chickens.

The hen looked at me sideways and smiled, just a little bit.

Amy, after reading the above draft: Hey did you guys actually use the chickens for extra pillows?
Jenny: No.  I got them to throw at Emily.
Emily: And they HURT.
Amy:  Oops, there goes Mom's blog post.

Looks like it's you and me against the world, Henny Penny.

*"Mom, I am NOT going garage saling with you if you wear a fanny pack.  I just refuse."
Ok then. I wanted someone to go with me so I capitulated.
Different day, different conversation:
Me: You really need to lengthen that skirt so you can sit down with a shred of dignity.
Jenny: If dignity is so important, why do you use a fanny-pack?
Me: SIGH.  Paul, do you think a fanny-pack looks undignified?
Paul [treading carefully]: Well, you'll notice that I never wear one.
Some people could make my life a lot easier if they just chose to.


  1. I'm laughing so hard. Just get some real chickens. They actually lay eggs, and believe me, they have much more personality than pillows.

  2. There is something about teenage daughters and a Momma...

  3. This is so funny!! Thank you for giving me a good laugh!
    I have 2 nice ceramic cats if you want them. But they would not make good pillows... and you have to come over to France to get them :-)

  4. The porch is perfect for those chickens. Get a little box and put some straw in it and get the hen settled in a quiet corner. Then you need to let the roosters face off somewhere else--maybe over a pan of grass seed. See, a perfect nod to your family business, and just the right touch of domesticity and rural wholesomeness. (The tops of my kitchen cupboards sport ceramic fowl: two roosters, two hens, one white duck and one white goose, and one mallard--all actually cookie jars or soup tureens.) I'm quite fond of poultry, and these are not messy or noisy--just beautiful.

  5. Now you did it again. My daughter has her head on my lap, falling asleep. When I laugh my belly shakes! She gave me a look sort of like your hen.

  6. So funny! I enjoy your sense of humor! And I enjoy your girls' comments. :)
    I do agree - the hen would make a good neck pillow for flights. I've seen stranger things on flights. So, go ahead, let the people around you on the plane take a second look.
    I have the same feelings towards items when someone was thoughtful and gave something to me. The thought really does count!

  7. oh, I loved the fanny pack conversation!

  8. My favorite line? Paul's "Well, you'll notice that I never wear one." That's just priceless, Dorcas. Thank you for a good laugh this evening!

  9. I love the chickens; I would have bought them and let them sit on my sofa. As to caring about things, there are certain pieces in our motly assortment of china that no one else likes to use. I make a point to use them so they won't feel rejected.