[These don't look like chickens to me]
My mom decided to get some chickens this year. She lives in a small town in Florida where people can have farm animals. She used to have geese, but a fox or coyote climbed through the fence and killed them all one by one. Before the geese became fox food, anytime I'd visit, my big party trick would be to pick up a goose and carry it around. I mean, the family would line up at the goose pen as if this were a Roman gladiator sport or a monster truck rally.
I'm kidding about the monster truck rally.
Now just to give you some perspective, my parents raised these geese from little goslings and saw them EVERY SINGLE DAY to feed and water them. But they were afraid of their own geese. Crazy, I know. My dad made these special goose tools out of PVC pipe that looked like the letter T so that he or my mom could enter the goose pen and keep the geese at bay. Because geese are just so vicious, right? Uh huh.
But here's the thing. I'm not afraid of geese. Not in the least.
I go to the local parks and HAND FEED the wild geese.
So the family's lined up at the fence to watch: my parents, my sister, my nieces, my brother and sister-in-law, my nephews.
My mom: I can't believe Susan is going to do this.
My dad: a grown goose can break a man's leg.
My sister: I've gotta see this.
My oldest nephew who was about eight the last time: Can I go in there with Aunt Susan?
Everyone but me: NO!
I just shake my head.
"Look, y'all", I say. "I know where their heads are." Meaning the geese.
I enter the pen and the three large geese, and by large, the tops of their heads come up to my shoulders, immediately run away from me. Oh, yeah, these geese are SO scary. Yeah, I'm just quaking in my boots. Not.
Dad: Use the T pole, Susan.
Me: I don't need that, Dad.
I single out a goose, follow it around the pen, keeping it ahead of me, then pick my moment to scoop it up with its wings folded so that it can't flap. I hold it under my left arm like a giant football and grasp its neck with my free hand. The goose eyes me mildly alarmed. Did you know that geese have beautiful blue eyes like Siamese cats?
From the peanut gallery, I hear comments like:
It's going to bite you!
I can't believe she did that?
And the kicker: How did you do that?
What? Were you watching with your eyes closed? Maybe they were. After all, they were sure I was going to get a broken leg for my troubles.
Now that I've been holding the goose for a little bit, and let me tell you, geese are heavy and have sharp claws on their duck-like feet, the goose relaxes. It does try to peck me a few times, testing the boundaries, you know, but I have a firm grasp on its neck and I never take my eyes off its head. That's the key: knowing where that goose head is at all times.
The other two geese are making a racket. I've got their comrade. In their minds, I'm going to eat their buddy. Not a chance. I love these geese. So now I have to glance away from my goose pal to check where the other geese are. One has snuck up behind me for a stealth peck. I sidestep him or her and say, "I'm picking you up next." The goose goes away. Geese are smart that way. Actually, geese are just smart.
The goose I'm holding has really relaxed now and I'm able to stroke it's neck. The down is so soft. But it's getting heavy, so I carefully set it down. The other geese are like yay! No one's getting eaten today. By the way, if you ever want to hire me to do this at your party, I also pick up turkeys, too.
So back to the Secret Chickens.
My mom got the chickens after the geese were gone. She's had them since last spring, but I've yet to receive a single picture of them. I told my sister: Does she really have any chickens? My sister said, "Maybe they're SECRET chickens."
SECRET chickens. Sounds like the name of a rock band. Or maybe my next novel. Ha!
So I email my mom: Send some pix of the chickens.
Have I gotten any pictures of chickens, secret or otherwise?
Nooooo. Not even a picture of some Tyson chicken or chicken McNuggets. And my sister forgot to make any pictures when she visited. And she's got the smartphone! Which makes me wonder if these secret chickens even exist.
Nope, the only picture I've gotten is one of puppies and that was from my sister via my mom.
Puppies are not chickens. Not even close.
So where are the secret chickens, eh???? It's a puzzler.