Cock-a-Doodle-Doo by L. E. Bunn

The first day of first grade I wanted to make a new friend as soon as possible. Kindergarten was a tough time dealing with a certain manipulative five-year-old. Olivia had told me it was good to pick your nose. She spilled the beans about sex and the real meaning of F-U-C-K, a word that would result in getting my mouth washed out with soap at home. Olivia made me feel young, naïve, and ignorant. Even in my six-year-old mind, I knew it was time to move on.

 

Early into first grade, I met Marina, a city girl from Chicago, with luminous curls and large eyes. She already had offers of modeling jobs and child movie roles. Big into hospitality, my Mom invited Marina over for a play-date at our farm. I felt less than thrilled.

 

She arrived on my gravel driveway, not a hair out of place. She wore white pants and perfect little light up shoes, even a hint of lip-gloss.

 

She skeptically glanced at me, “What do you feel like doing?”

 

I looked like a ragamuffin freshly baked and popped out of the toaster oven. I pulled on my ratty old farm boots, hitching the strap of my overalls back onto my shoulder. She awkwardly followed me down the dirt road to the old red barn.

 

I opened the latch. The essence of chicken excrement surrounded us. She wrinkled her nose. Great. The sound of roosters crowing punctuated the air like a series of ellipses emphasizing my discomfort…

 

Marina regarded my unconventional family, the puffed out chest of the Buff Orpingtons, the stocky legs of the Jumbo Cornish X Rocks, the silvery feathers of the Silver-laced Wyandottes, and finally the unique spots and textures coating the Araucana chickens. I held my breath, waiting, waiting, waiting.

 

She peered closer, brown eyes widening, “What are their names?”

 

I grinned, “We can name them,” I decided to ignore the unstated farm kid rule of don’t get too attached to the ‘pets.’

 

A small smile twisted onto her lips.

 

A room full of roosters crowing like alarm clocks, yet I named one Henrietta, and she named the other Grace.

 

We danced around the green plastic chairs taunting them and ducking from outbursts of feathers and pecking.

 

She has remained my best friend for the last 12 years.

Advertisements