Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Hanging Out with the Chicks

This is the hen and her brood who live down the street from me. They live behind an antique store.There were four chicks last week, but the hawk grabbed one for her own brood. I get it. Hawks aren't vegetarians.

 The rooster--not pictured--crows. A lot. I like it, though. I hear him everyday now. The crowing is both reassuring and disconcerting. Another day, another day, another day.

I once owned a rooster named Foxbait [he was rescued from a fox trap]. He had more personality than most engineers I know.  He shredded dog food bags with his wee spurs--he was a bantam. Maybe because the bags were Purina red? Or maybe he hated that Purina checker pattern? There it was-- a twenty pound bag of dog food one minute, and a pile of kibble and a hula skirt the next.

One of my all-time favorite short stories--the kind of story that will linger in your thoughts, cling to you like smoke after you read it-- is I want to Live! by Thom Jones. A terminally ill woman on her deathbed thinks of Mr. Barnes, the rooster from her childhood, and admires his pluck, his cockiness, his grabbing life and living it. Somehow this theme gets intertwined with the German philosopher Schopenhauer-- but it works. It works.

Read it, you'll see. From the prize-winning collection The Pugilist at Rest.


  1. Sounds good. Just ordered it. I love a good rooster story. :)

  2. Hey Ms. Friddle,
    Your post reminded me of the touching, yet awkward, scene from Benigni’s film “Life is Beautiful,” where he “applies” Schopenhauer’s theory of the Will to protect his son in a concentration camp.

    As for roosters, I once had a rather vivid dream (talking in my sleep as my wife tells it) of a rooster being loose in our room and then disappearing (I think he jumped out the window). I apparently shot up in bed asking, “Where did the rooster go?” I wonder what Freud would make of that? :)

    I stopped in at my local B&N yesterday to pick up “The Pugilist at Rest,” but I had to special order it. Evidently it is going out of print. That must be such a sad event for a published author. I look forward to reading it per your recommendation. (I’m a boxing aficionado, so my interest was piqued from the get-go by the title.)

  3. Constantine--
    I haven't yet seen "Life is Beautiful," but your comment may prompt me to add it to my Netflix queue...how sad "The Pugilest at Rest" is nearly out of print. I still hold and cherish my original hardback copy. He often writes about boxing.I bet you'll like the collection.


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