So, I’m heading down the road to feed the donkeys. (Yes, I live on an 8-acre farm, but the donkeys live 10 minutes away, on another farm, in one of the many perplexities of my current life.)
From the backseat, I hear a rustling.
I keep driving.
On any given day, my vehicle is a stunt-double for the pickup Lamont drove on “Sanford and Son,” so there’s always trash congealing , grass growing through the carpet, or year-old French fries mutating into another life form. This can get noisy sometimes.
In another half mile, I hear movement again
All right. One of the kids decided to come along, and slipped into the backseat without me knowing. I turn around to let them know I’m in on the joke.
There, perched on the back seat, is a chicken.
She sits calmly, expectantly, and looks me boldly in the eye, like Jessica Tandy with feathers.
Hoke, I need to be at the beauty parlor in half an hour!
Hoke, could you please drive a little slower?
Hoke, eat more cattle!
It was take-your-chicken-to-work day, and I didn’t know it.
I slowed down, and started looking for a place that I could turn around, drive home and deposit Miss Maizey in the driveway where she belonged. Then I realized, with great alarm, that a large man in a small car had pulled over next to me.
I rolled down my window. He smiled benevolently.
“Yes?” I said. “Can I help you?”
“You looked like you were lost and needed directions.”
“No,” I said. “I’m not lost. There’s just a chicken in my back seat.”
And with that, I turned around and took the hen home, more interested in keeping the back seat free of chicken manure than in seeing this kind man’s response.
I realized immediately, of course, what had happened. Earlier, I had loaded a bale of hay in the back of the Jeep, and left the hatch open for a few minutes. My passenger, showing extraordinary chutzpah for a chicken, had climbed in. The back seat of my car is a good place for a chicken. Warm. Plenty of crumbs.
So Meals on Wheels, the Donkey Edition, hit the road again. Just another day in the life. No harm, no fowl.