Sunday, August 5, 2012

Keep the coop clean and carry on

Marilyn, far right, as a groovy, young chick, with gal pals. Photo: Robert Schley 

I just learned that Marilyn was mauled last week and didn’t survive. Having just spent the weekend with her room mates, I’m shocked. I am sitting shiva, albeit belatedly, to honor my friend.  God accepts all petitions, I believe, even those for fine, feathered friends from fallen away Catholic girls like me.

Marilyn was an Ameraucana chicken - a lusty, busty hen who lived a cozy little life in the Town of Matthews with her pen-mates until a raccoon invaded their home and, well – that’s that.

Nature is an evil bitch, at times. But we remain calm and carry on. What choice do we have?

Part of my newly-crafted career as a Middle-Aged-Woman-Without-A-Steady-Job includes chicken sitting duties. My friend Jane hired me to handle her menagerie while she and her hubby Brian travel. Our grown sons have been buddies since elementary school.  Jane was a rabid fan of my family’s now-defunct community newspaper, for which I will always be grateful. She’s always had a thing for such newspapers, having grown up with a father – Neal Friedman - who wrote a wildly popular column in the Baltimore Jewish Times.

So, now I feed her animals, where she used to feed me story ideas. It is a fine arrangement, as she pays well, and I get all the chicken poop I can handle for my garden. My finned and furry charges also include a skittish but painfully lovely rescue dog named Delilah; a tank full of fish;  and the coolest cat on the planet, Mr. Kitty, who thinks he’s a dog and has a face not unlike the actor Elijah Wood of Frodo Baggins fame.

Stock photo: Mr. Wood
Family photo: Mr. Kitty

Rest in peace, Miss Marilyn! We’ll keep the coop clean and carry on!

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