The sun beats down on us as we drive across the county line. Although we have the air conditioner on high, sweat runs down our backs. I look over at the old Court House and admire the manicured lawn, the bright flowers, and the stone wall that surrounds the Century old building. Suddenly, a childhood memory floods back.
Sissy and I lay on a mattress in the back of the car. It was the middle of a hot summer night. Papa and Mama talked softly in the front seat as Papa drove down the country road. I looked out the window and watched the stars twinkle in the midnight sky.
The drought had been especially hard that year, so we were on our way to sell the chickens. I heard them scratching and pecking in their wooden crates that were strapped on top of the car.
I drifted off to sleep and later woke to Mama softly shaking my shoulder. Papa had stopped the car at the Mason County Court House to stretch his legs and eat an early breakfast.
As Mama got the food out of the picnic basket, I hopped on the bumper to look at the chickens. I stuck my finger in the crate and I guess the chicken thought it was a worm because it promptly bit my finger! I jerked my finger out of the crate and ran over to Mama. She kissed my finger.
After we ate our breakfast, we sat on the stone wall, looked out over the lawn, and watched the sun rise. I caught movement in the corner of my eye.
There were chickens everywhere! Nervously, I looked at Papa. He was looking beyond me with his jaw dropped open.
“You girls get out there and help me catch those chickens!” He said.
We were all running around the Court House lawn chasing those chickens. Feathers and squawks filled the air. Papa reached for one of them, missed and fell flat on his face. Mama tried to get one out of the flowers, hit a mud patch and fell on her bottom, crushing the tulips. I dared not laugh.
We finally caught all the chickens and got them back in the crate. Papa was furious and Mama was out of breath. Sissy and I were covered in dirt. I felt foolish for accidently unlatching the crate when I jerked my finger out of it earlier.
We got back into the car to continue our journey. I looked up at the rearview mirror and saw Papa looking at me. His mouth started twitching and he laughed so hard he had to pull over on the side of the road. We all held our stomachs laughing with tears streaming down our faces.
I pull myself out of the memory and tell the story to my grandchildren as we pass by. They double over in laughter just as we did so many years ago.
*Based on true events
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