Monday, March 22, 2010

In The Chicken Coop

A fox sat in the cage watching. And, in the next cage sat a skunk….a deordorized critter. I was about eight and off to a birthday party.

Our friendship began in first grade. Giggling little girInls. Four best friends. We all lived in different types of farm homes. One went to my church, lived in a rental house. Another lived in a small house with her parents back another lane as an only child. I lived back the lane on Neff Road with another friend lived just around the corner with her widowed mother in a house that was always dark. Best friends. Little girls who saw no differences.

The birthday girl lived in a chicken coop with her mom, dad, and two brothers. It had been renovated, this coop behind her grandma’s house. Inside the family had done well at making the long single room into a home. From a child’s view, it was fantastic.

The ‘wild’ pets had been tamed by her father and were part of the little family. Dad always denied my requests for a raccoon, fox, some other cool animal. Boy, was she a lucky girl.

We dropped clothes pins into a glass milk bottle, pinned a tail on a donkey and ate cake. Four little friends. Four little girls celebrating a birthday in the chicken coop home.

Children do not see the differences on the farm. We didn’t see a family, a family of five, in distress living as they could in a small chicken coop. We didn’t wonder why the grandmother lived in the house allowing her grandchildren to live with much less. We didn’t see the poverty that resided in that home. We only saw a happy family, to us a lucky family. They had a skunk and a fox.

Blind is the eye against prejudice and judgment. The eye of a child. She was my friend. Her parents were warm and loving. Her home was different and fun. My parents had dropped me off at this house without hesitation, a home we might question today. But it was the way on Neff Road. It was the way of those who toiled and struggled. Everyone did the best they could and didn’t question others.

I haven’t dropped a clothes pin into a milk bottle since then. Well, I haven’t even seen a milk bottle since then. I never met anyone else who lived in a chicken coop. Time passed and little girls went their separate ways. But we learned lifelong lessons.

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