I kind of wanted to finish up the story that I started last week, but was unable to finish because of space requirements. I had lugged the old tom-cat up from the barn and was playing with him in the living room when a lady from church showed up. She came in and sat on a hard back chair and started talking a mile a minute with her legs crossed. One leg was bouncing up and down and back and forth to the rhythm of her conversation.
The cat was crouched down, eye balling her bouncing leg with his ears pinned back, when suddenly he pounced on her leg with all fours. Needless to say, the poor woman was mortified, and Grandma told me in no uncertain terms to get that cat out of here right this minute.
I managed to corral the cat in the kitchen, and for some unknown reason, instead of taking him out the back door; I threw him in the greasy slop bucket mess. Grandma came running in to see what all of the commotion was and quickly grabbed the cat from the bucket and proceeded to clean him off at the wash basin. Well, you can imagine how that went. I knew I was dead when she emerged from the wash pan with bloody forearms and that glare she threw my way.
Instead of swatting my rear, she calmly told me to go down to the fruit cellar and get a jar of canned peaches for supper. The cat and I both scurried out the door.
The lid on the jar I brought up had apparently not sealed and the peaches had fermented with the juice oozing out around the edge of the lid. Of course, I never paid any attention to that and grandma didn’t notice either until she had done grabbed a hold of the lid and given it a quick twist. That jar spewed just like a hot Pepsi Cola.
“My lands child, these peaches are rotten,” she said. “Here, take them quickly and dump them out by the fence and bring me up another one from the cellar.”
Whenever the back screen door slammed, the chickens would come running, thinking it was dinner-time. I hurried across the yard to the fence ahead of them, poured out the peaches and headed back toward the fruit cellar.
As I emerged with a new jar of peaches, I was stopped dead in my tracks from the strange sight that lay ahead of me. The chickens had gobbled down every last peach and were lying all over the back yard, motionless.
My frantic scream brought my grandmother running just as some of the hens were attempting to rise to their feet.
“They’re drunk,” she said and over the next few minutes we saw the most ridiculous sight that ever took place in our back yard.
Page 2 of 2 - One big Rhode Island Red hen was lying grotesquely on one wing and the side of her head; she got to her feet and rose on her tiptoes like a ballet dancer, took three running steps, emitted a squawk, and fell back down flat on her face. Other hens rose from the grass and staggered, pie-eyed, into each other falling back down again. One hen that was almost helpless was feebly beating one wing in the air when another old hen that had not been able to reach the peaches in time to imbibe gave her intemperate sister an inquiring peck or two, then walked sedately away with that “she-should-be blackballed” attitude.
A few minutes later the peaches had worn off and the hens were chattering around the yard chasing bugs like nothing had ever happened.
Cinco de Mayo, or the fifth of May, commemorates the Mexican army’s 1862 victory over France at the Battle of Puebla during the Franco-Mexican War and will be celebrated in McCoy Park, across from the Truman Library on May 5.
To reach Ted W. Stillwell, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or call him at 816-252-9909.