WELL, IN AGES PAST, as a child, each of us owned one chicken (hens…no roosters, thank you), a pigeon and a goose. I adored my little Henny Penny. I believe she was a bantam Buff Orpington, but I’m just going from recollection.
My dad loved animals and I definitely shared that love then–and now. During our childhood, various critters came under our care. Hens, rabbits, pigeons, chukars & quail, ducks, geese, dogs–even a pony. My brothers loved their geese & the quail–they even had to hand raise (with some help from all of us) one of the pigeon babies because he was abandoned by the parents.
That was quite a lesson. They named him George, in honor of our family doctor–he was the one that provided the pablum and vitamins for our little orphan. Somehow, he survived the feedings every two hours divided between all family members, our mixing up the pablum to feed him with a dropper, and even the emergency surgery (performed by dad) when somebody overfed him & burst his crop. We all fell in love with him. He was part of the family. He even answered to his name and came when we called him. We allowed him to fly free around our home — after all, he was a homing pigeon, so we knew he would always come home. Eventually. But one day, he didn’t. We were completely devastated. To the point that, when we once went to the San Francisco zoo, we were sure we saw him and kept calling for him. We must have looked like a bunch of wacko kids, crying and screaming out for George. Our poor parents could not calm us. A very traumatic, but strangely warm memory from our childhood.
There were other orphaned critters raised, marauding neighbor dogs decimating our beloved hens and pets that came and went. We learned to love each one, to care for them–or at least try. Each one carried a lesson for us.
Patience, love, perseverance.
In a way, these lessons helped me raise an adorable, precocious child into a beautiful, intelligent young lady.
Today, in addition to this lovely lady that has since flown the coop, I have an adorable loving dog, a mischievous cat, a rabbit and twelve hens. I am crazy, really, to have all of these animals in my life right now, but there are still lessons to be learned and I have plenty of love to share, so why not.
I am relearning patience, as I — maybe-not-so-patiently — wait for the last of my young pullets to begin laying. There are three that are either simply not going to, or are the proverbial late bloomers. One of these days, I suppose, I’ll be surprised (and thrilled) with a second blue egg from my “I’m taking my time” Americauna and beautiful light to medium brown eggs from the other two late bloomers.
I am constantly reminded of my responsibilities to share my time and attention with my feathered and four-legged friends. Even when I don’t feel up to it. Even when the weather has me wishing I could stay indoors. When I’d much rather be reading, writing or tramping in the woods taking pictures. There will always be time for those endeavors, too.
Giving, no matter what.
They also teach me to be thankful. Yes, thankful.
Thankful for the small things. For their entertaining qualities (every single one of them make me laugh), for the warm, furry, lap-warmer and loving snuggler (my cat, of course) in my life, for the unquestioning love and faithfulness (obviously, not the cat). I am thankful for the mini-hand warmers my hens provide each day as I collect their eggs on these chilly mornings. And for the food they provide for my friends and for me.
As we approach our Thanksgiving Day holiday, I find my life filled to overflowing with so many things to be thankful for, whether memories of the past or things current in my life. And thankful that I am able to prepare for and spend this special day with my daughter and her husband. Good times.
I am not going to let the rush of this and the upcoming holidays get in the way of remembering what this whole season is truly about. Please take the time, and remember to be thankful for what you have — no matter how great or small it may be or seem.
What memories or things in your life are you thankful for?
A warm and happy Thanksgiving Day to everyone.