Because, according to the thermometer if not the calendar, the season of Fall is slipping elusively out the back door before it has even had time to sit and stay a while as a good houseguest might (For shame, Fall. For shame.), I have decided that it is time to break out one of my very favorite Fall stories, in hopes that this show of adulation might convince it to hang around a bit more, instead of behaving like a trampy college freshman looking to avoid an awkward, morning walk of shame.
Daddy is a smart and well reasoned man. However, one of the givens for being such a man is that you had to at one point have been a small boy. And small boys, as we all know, do stupid things. It is in the manual. It is required. There is no way around it.
Back in the late 1950’s, long before Daddy was Daddy, when he was in the thick of being a very stupid small boy, Grandmama had family that lived in Vineland. For those of you not from Jersey, or those of us who are so essentially North Jersey that we don’t feel the need to know any state geography below Trenton except Atlantic City and the Shore, Vineland is the country part of Jersey, or at least at the time it was. These relatives lived on one of those farms that we reference when calling ourselves The Garden State.
However, unlike the eponymous Garden-y farms, this farm dealt mostly in chickens. Cluck cluck, flap flap, peck peck, chickens. I say mostly though, because they did also grow some produce including, in the Fall (see here’s your cameo, season), apples to press into cider.
Well, being small boys, Daddy and his cousins enjoyed to go and chase the chickens, and after an afternoon of doing just that they came to the conclusion that, for being such good sports and not pecking any of their eyes out, the birds deserved a treat. Perhaps some tasty apples.
Do we see the problem yet?
Let me give you a hint. What happens when you let apple mash sit for a few days? Hard cider happens. And happen it had. And those chickens got good and plastered.
So much so that they forgot the limits of their particular aerodynamics and thought, bless their little chicken hearts, that they could fly. Take a moment and picture a yard full of chickens drunkenly careening all over. Ah but my readers this is not yet the best part. Some of these alcohol enabled fowl were shortsighted enough to not notice that there was a barn in the middle of the yard. Take another moment and picture a drunk chicken “flying” square into the side of a barn.