Colored-Chicks!…Ducks!…at Easter!…OH MY!

Today is Easter. ((Sigh)) I’m bummed out because I miss my kids, and have no one to celebrate the holiday with. There was a time not so long ago that Easter meant baskets overflowing with candy, colored eggs, coloring books, and toys. It meant sitting around eating and gabbing at the dinner table with the smells of candied yams and ham in the air. It meant love, laughter, and family. It meant, and was all about, my children. Where did the good times go?

My daughter called me this morning to wish me a ‘Happy Easter’. I had to laugh as she told me about all the little extra things they bought the kids: Kites, etc. (Easter was never just about baskets of candy in our house), and how her youngest, my two year old grandson, could careless about any of them except a pair of socks with his favorite animated character on them. I told her the same thing happened to her dad and me when her older brother was just two. We spent a small fortune on him that Christmas—he being our only child at the time—and the only thing he wanted to play with was a small bag of plain, green, hard-plastic, army men my sister had picked up at the dollar store for a buck (I learned then that something as simple as the empty box stuff came in is what fascinates them.) We talked about how holidays are really for children, and she confessed she misses holidays at home with me, and had even been telling a girl at work that I still made baskets for her up until she was 17 and moved out of the house. I could hear my grandchildren in the background as they were first playing then fighting, and the frustration in her voice as she explained now they were breaking each other’s chocolate. All I could say was “You’re not a real mother if you only have one. You have to go through sharing, fighting, and cries of “It’s not fair and you love her/him more than you do me!” in my book before you qualify as a real mom.” I miss that now.

I wonder how my children now view their childhood and I as a mother. I wonder if my mother too ever wondered about me. Did she question whether she did a good job? Did she question whether she made my childhood memorable enough? I wish she were still here now so I could tell her that she did. She was a nut-job at times, but she put the ‘magic’ into all my holidays. My mother WAS ‘holidays’. Since I’m not making any fond memories today, I’d like to share with you a couple I already have.

When I was a child Easter was a ‘huge’ deal in our house because of my mother. She loved to decorate every holiday, so it was common to walk in and find seasonal flowers or plants around, felt magnets depicting that specific holiday all over the fridge, tablecloths with prints, decals on the windows, knick-knacks placed here and there, etc. Easter meant baskets overflowing with candy, stuffed rabbits, and real, colored chicks. Yes, you read it right. Real chickens!

I don’t know where all you readers grew up, or what your family traditions might’ve been, but where I come from back forty years-plus, Easter meant colored, baby chicks. There was a hatchery in town that sold these fuzzy, little sweethearts in bright, pastel shades of pink, blue, yellow and green. I remember how special the moment felt when I walked in there with my dad, heard the bell catch on the door, smelled the stench of baby, chicken poo, and got to pick out my own, little darling. They would put it in it’s own little, individual box, hand you a small packet of chick food, and you’d be on your way. Know why parents purchased these? Why, to give to their children as special gifts, of course. Know what all these kids did with them? They killed them! I look back now and think, “My God, what were these people thinking? More important, “Wasn’t PETA around yet?”

Before animal lovers that are reading this begin throwing spastic-tantrums, let me just explain that these ‘deaths’ were not intentional. They were just so sweet, soft, and little, that children simply couldn’t keep from touching them over and over and over and over again…and literally ended up ‘handling’ them to death. I have to be honest though, I suspect these parents must’ve known what was going to happen—well…especially since none of us lived on farms but in carbon-copy houses with small backyards in a residential neighborhood—cause, what…they were all planning on raising chickens? Looking back I see the whole thing as nothing short of barbaric, really.

This started in our household and stopped nearly as quick from what I remember. Why? Well, my chick didn’t die. I guess I hadn’t gotten the memo saying what my job and the expected outcome was to be. No, it survived, started growing, it’s down was replaced by feathers, and it literally became a pet. So much so that when our family had to travel clear down to Florida to see relatives it went with us. Hmm…no one wanted to baby-sit our chicken? I can’t friggen imagine why not! I can’t remember the details of our visit, but have conjured up a scenario in my head of what it must’ve been like….. My uncle sitting at the table and my aunt staring out the kitchen window when we pull up the drive in our station wagon. “Honey, Gladys and Al are here. What the…? I think they have a chicken in the car with them!”

Yep, we lovingly raised that chicken to adulthood and managed to entertain it with a Florida vacation, before it’s time was up and something got it while we were there. I guess their yard wasn’t chicken-friendly. After that my father firmly stated, “Never again.” Yeah, right! My dad liked to act gruff, but he was a complete pushover when it came to animals. He’d always proclaim, “You’re not keeping it!” whenever I’d bring home something someone gave me or a stray I’d found, but I don’t recall him once having the heart to follow through. I acquired pet mice that way (sadly Pierre and Charlie got snared into traps that a spooked, family member set for them after they got loose) dogs, cats, a big turtle, rabbits…Wow, did we have rabbits! We started with a couple and wound up with a backyard covered in hutches, more rabbits than we could shake a stick at, and my poor, exhausted father finally had to give them to a farmer. Yep, I learned quick about rabbits! And then there were the ducks.

The duck story is now painful for me to think about, because I’m older, have children of my own, and can’t help but look at it from what would’ve been my mother’s perspective. Geeze-louise, my mother had to have spent my whole childhood gritting her teeth! My girlfriend and I at the time were in our teens and dating brothers. Easter rolled around and we wanted to do something special for them. Of course, I had the bright idea of buying them ducks—cause you know…that wasn’t such a stretch in my weird world!—and she was stupid and went along with every dumb-ass idea I had (and I was full of them). So we went and picked up two ducks from this hatchery, named them Denny and Davy after the brothers, and proudly presented them to the guys Easter afternoon. Umm…these ducks returned home with me early Easter evening. I guess his parents weren’t as lax as mine, and apparently my girlfriends folks weren’t either. Yep, I inherited the ducks!

Okay, so I should probably explain that we had a really long winter that year, so that meant the ducks couldn’t be put outside. My mother wouldn’t let me keep them in the basement, because they would stink up the laundry, so that meant there was really only one solution, they stayed with me in my bedroom. Do you know that ducks projectile-poop when they go? I didn’t. Not until they lived with me in my room, anyway. I had them pushed up against my closet doors in my small room and changed the box they were in many times, but it didn’t matter how tall the damn thing was, duck poo still got on my closet doors. They’d quack all night and day, rustle papers when I was trying to sleep, and basically just became annoying, poop-machines that wouldn’t stop growing. My mother began to have a real shrill to her voice when she spoke, and repeated herself over and over again. “Shut your door! Them damn things stink! OH-MY-GOD…HOW-CAN-YOU-LIVE-IN-THERE-WITH-THEM?!” Yes, it was a long, couple of months in that house. They did eventually make it outside though, my dad made them a little coop and bought them a baby pool to swim in. Davy got maimed by my ill-mannered, nephew and could no longer walk, so I spent most of my afternoons carting his feathered ass in and out of his pool. Oh, a girl and her ducks ((Sigh)) Finally near the end of summer my father found them a permanent residence at the home of a farmer he knew (I guess he foreseen what another winter might be like if they stayed), our family bid them farewell, and last I heard Denny was a she, not a he, and was laying double yolks. Go figure! I always did have a problem telling them boys and girls apart. Look at my long-haired, old man!

Well, I hope you enjoyed my memories of Easter’s past. I recommend if your mother’s still around you call her today, wish her a ‘Happy Easter’, and tell her thanks for putting up with your shit for so many years. I suspect I’m not the only one with tales to tell. I believe every adult has a reason to apologize to their parent for being their child. I was one, and I’ve raised three!

“HAPPY EASTER, EVERYONE!”

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13 Comments on “Colored-Chicks!…Ducks!…at Easter!…OH MY!”

  1. The Hook says:

    Hilarious! Well done.

  2. You’re too funny! I keep forgetting that you don’t live in the States. Peeps are a huge deal at Easter around here.

  3. lifereconnected says:

    Happy Easter to you too! My son rang me from New york complaining that he didn’t get any chocolate eggs ‘cos you don’t do them over in the states! Bless. Mind you he is 24 and married! I’m a bit like you too missing all those times when the kids were small. We would hide eggs (chocolate ones!) and they would spend the day looking for them. And my favourite was rolling our hard boiled eggs complete with drawn on faces on Easter Monday until the shells cracked then eat them with salt. This year I’m rolling my eyes at the quietness of the house!

    • Me too! Isn’t it funny how you spend so much time waiting for the kids to grow up and get out so you can have some peace, and then when they do you just sit there on your thumbs, look around, and think “What the hell do I do now?” I guess my problem is that I’ve been someone’s wife and mother for so long that I’ve forgotten how to be just myself anymore. I’m working on it though.
      Hmm…who do I want to be when I finally grow up? That’s the big question 😉 Probably just a bitch! Oh well, I guess I don’t have to work too hard at it.
      We have Cadbury Eggs, does that count? Personally, I’m all about the peeps. I’ve never been one to pass up sugar. My bad!

      • lifereconnected says:

        I have to just add that when you said earlier that you were all about the peeps I thought you meant people! It took the Freshly Pressed post to explain to me what you meant. And there was me thinking you were all cannibals… Lord I need to keep up!

  4. Spectra says:

    Happy Easter!

    Love the memories of the chicks. We only got the Peeps version in our baskets, though. My parents knew better than to satisfy a passing holiday fancy, that these cute fuzzy things grew up and make grown up craps as well.

    I’m so glad at least one chick made it to adulthood and got to see Florida.

    They sell chicken diapers now, for those interested in making a housepet out of a particularly special chick… a woman named Irma Cota sells them on Etsy.

    • Girlfriend! Happy Easter to you too!
      Yes, we took that chicken to Florida. Sadly, I never made any of this shit up! I mean, this is how nuts my family is!! Can you imagine? Yeah…I bet you could. You’re nuts like I am.
      Chicken diapers? Is there no limit to what people will come up with nowadays to make a buck? And I thought pet rocks were a dumb idea when I was young. I think that person made a fortune off them, so who knows…maybe chicken diapers is the next, big trend.
      God I need a drink. You don’t think it’s sacrilegious or something to partake of adult beverages on Easter do ya?
      Too late! It’s a done deal!!!!!!!!!!

      • Spectra says:

        Not only do I not think it is ‘sacrilegious’ (and I had to copy your spelling, as I have no idea) BUT i RATHER THINK IT IS YOUR obligation TO HAVE A DRINK IN CELEBRATION OF WHAT JESUS SACRIFIECED FOR YOU and the rest of us.

        I had me a bottle of cheap, bad, Chardonnay- all the liquor stores here (by blue laws)closed at 5 pm. So, after dinner with my parents, swung by a bar, got said bottle of white, came home, finished pink-pickled-beet-deviled-eggs, ate too many, had wine…and still can’t sleep!

        Looking forward to your next post.

        Mine is something about an “Open LETTER” to Jerry, or something.

        He’s such a bastard.

        HAPPY EASTER!

        • Pickled-beet deviled eggs and cheap Chardonnay! And you wonder why Jerry can’t be found? Girlfriend, that’s like a gas-accident waiting to happen! Poor Jerry. I’d be running for the woodshed too. I’m just having a blast bantering back and forth on all these comments with everyone. Been dealing with the boo-hoo’s lately, and it’s nice that everyone is keeping me busier than a one armed man with two dicks. Breaks the monotony and puts a smile on my face. Thanks for getting me through my shitty Easter.

  5. Right before I read this, I posted the following FB status:
    “Deb is thinking of Easters past with RW, DB and MC. ♥ She isn’t Christian anymore, but will always love the memory of Easter Sundays her mom made magic no matter how little money she had.”

    My mom died about a month before easter last year. My son was still so young that I barely noticed the holiday. This year, he’s nearing 19 months, so that his dad took him to Easter services at a nearby church. This year, it feels like Easter to me. I was sitting here remembering my own Easter mishaps and delights, thinking how patient my mom was despite putting up with four rampaging kids, when I started reading your entry.

    I’d love to call my mom and say “sorry & thanks!” I’d heartily second your suggestion that folks call their moms to say the same, because the memory of doing so will be a bright spot some years down the road when those phone calls aren’t possible anymore.

    I don’t mean that in a gloomy sense at all! Right now, the weather in LBC is so very like Eugene’s Easter weather, so I’m full of all the love and joy Easter meant to me through childhood. Even if I can’t call my mom to say it, I’m definitely saying these things in my heart and am so touched (not to mention tickled) to read your memories of bygone Easters. 🙂

    • I miss my mom terribly sometimes. She’s been gone since May of 1988, but I still find myself crying at difficult times and telling my husband, “I want my mom.” I don’t think you ever get over that. Funny thing is, all the shit that used to drive me nuts about her when I was growing up: Her mood-swings, being the center of attention, bad attitude, not backing down from anyone, and cussing like a sailor…well, I sheepishly admit…I’m a chip-off-the-old-Mickey (that was my mom’s nickname). The apple didn’t roll far from that damn tree!
      I’m glad you enjoyed my crazy memories, and I have to admit I found myself laughing out loud to the point I almost peed myself from writing them. Mainly because I still remember the look on my mother’s face as she would wrinkle her nose in disgust over those ducks. Priceless moments that can never be replaced!