Monday, March 26, 2007

Cordelia's Big Adventure

When the phone rings before the roosters crow, it makes me nervous...and justifiably so...

"Hello?" CarolineNot questioned, the inflection of her voice revealing her angst.

"Good morning," says Charles.

"Yes?", she said. [C'mon, spit it out; this can't be good.]

"Oh, I already said that, didn't I," Charles replied.

Yes, indeed, he'd said that a couple of hours earlier, as he'd left for work in the pre-dawn hours. He couldn't be missing me already, and Monday morning start-ups at the manufacturing plant are particularly labor-intensive -- it's no time to be chatting with the wife. It doesn't take two hours to make the 12-mile trip from our country home to the city, so his truck didn't break down. What could it be?

"One of our chickens is here."

"What?" Yes, I'd heard it, but it simply wouldn't process.

"One of our chickens is here at the plant."

"What are you talking about?"

"I guess it spent the night in the bed of my truck, and it rode to work with me."

"Where is it now?"

"It's in the parking lot. It's not going to let me get near it."

"Well, get a piece of bread. They love bread."

"There's no bread here!"

Hmm, why didn't I think of that? The Dolly Madison plant is on the next block, but she thought better of suggesting that hike to the man responsible for seeing to it that 20-foot garage floor mats roll off the presses on his block, while Dolly bakes 5-inch Suzy Q's on hers.

"Well, what do you want me to do?" asked CarolineNot, now reeling with thoughts of Bring Your Chicken to Work Day.

"I thought you and the boys might bring the net and come get the chicken."

I looked at the clock, and we did have an hour before I had to cook Grandpa's breakfast. "Okay, I guess we can do that."

"Boys," she hollered up the staircase, "get up and get dressed -- quickly!"

The bleary-eyed #3 son asked as he clambered down the stairs, "What's going on?"

"One of the chickens went to work with Dad, and we have to go get it."

Pulling into the gargantuan, paved parking lot that wraps the building, we surveyed all the grassy knolls (hoping for no chicken assassins in the area) and spied not even a pigeon or crow, much less a chicken. Having cruised the entire lot in the van, we then decided to park and begin the hunt on foot, hoping the chicken didn't decide to cross the road -- you know, to get to the other side, where the auto dealership has lots of trucks to play in. Number 4 son went inside the plant to ask Dad where he'd last seen the chicken, so Dad came out to join the search.

"Where'd you last see it?" CarolineNot asked Charles.

"It was under my truck," he replied, as he bent over to view the bare pavement beneath his truck, then embarked upon the hike the rest of us had already taken around the property.

Now CarolineNot, after 15 minutes of hunting, is standing in the middle of an ocean of asphalt, wondering if the authorities would be willing to issue an Amber alert for a chicken. With an increasingly desperate and sinking heart, she decided to take a good, long look beneath the truck, and there -- tucked up into the undercarriage -- sat Cordelia, still and quiet as a mouse. A poke with the handle to dislodge her from her perch, followed by a brief, raucous chase, netted the stowaway hen.

Cordelia sat chortling a happy-hen song while en route to her beloved country home. CarolineNot has decided to hereafter not answer the phone before 10:00 a.m., because she'd just rather not know.

Howbeit Jesus suffered him not, but saith unto him, Go home to thy friends,
and tell them how great things the Lord hath done for thee,
and hath had compassion on thee.
(Matthew 5:19)

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