To say I was surprised that my son approached me about females when he was still so young would be an understatement.
I had just gone up to the roof of the henhouse when Drumstick called to me. “Dad, do you have to crow right now, because I have something real important to ask you.”
“Son, you know I always crow at 5:00 AM. I’ll be through in a few minutes. Can’t it wait?”
“I guess so, if you’ll promise me that we can talk as soon as you’re finished.”
“Yes, yes, of course.”
It was at this point that my curiosity was killing me. Instead of puffing out my impressive breast and shattering the silence with my usual peal, I settled for a brief yell or two.
Drumstick was waiting for me, one little white foot scratching nervously at the ground. “What did you want, Son?”
“Well Dad, I met a chick.”
I knew the day would come, but I wasn’t prepared. “I see. Do I know her?”
My son ruffled his coppery feathers. “I don’t think so.”
“What’s her name?”
“I’m not sure I want to tell you yet.”
“I’ll respect that. Does your mother know?”
“Dad, you know I can’t discuss this stuff with Mom.”
“I have to agree hens don’t always understand guy stuff. But Son, I hope you have honorable intentions toward this young chick.”
“I just want to get to know her better.”
Relief spread over me like lice spray. “That’s good, because you’re really too young for a serious relationship anyway. Let’s get some breakfast.”
Drumstick followed me to a bare patch of ground where the June bugs were plentiful. I had just spied a particularly juicy one when Drumstick spoke again. “Dad, there’s something I want to tell you about the chick I’m interested in.”
“Go ahead, Son.”
I let the June bug live while I carefully thought out my reply. Drumstick’s mother and I had always taught him color wasn’t important. “Is she nice, Son?”
“Oh yeah. Yesterday she let me have this really big worm she found. I think she likes me.”
If I’d had lips, I would have smiled. “Maybe you’d like to invite her over sometime.”
“Maybe. Dad, do you think it will bother you that she looks different than us? I mean, really?”
“You know Drumstick, I haven’t met her yet, but I don’t think her speckles will make any difference.”
My son flapped his wings and lifted himself off the ground a couple of feet. “Woo hoo! I’m glad you feel that way. You’re gonna love her. I think her speckles are beautiful. That’s what attracted me to her in the first place. She’s no different than we are. She likes to get up early, go to bed early, loves a gourmet meal of corn and mash now and then, but her tastes aren’t really that expensive.”
“Whoa. Not so fast. There’s a few other things you should know. Just because I may tell you not to rush into anything doesn’t mean I’m referring to your chick’s speckles. I would tell you that if she were a mirror image of your mom. Whatever opinions I form of her will come from her actions, not her speckles.”
I was proud of my son, although being a dad was tougher than I had imagined. I thought back to the time when Drumstick was just an egg. I had all sorts of ideas on how to raise him, but then he hatched and I saw that little yellow fluff ball. All of my tough dad ideas flew right out the henhouse door. His mom was great at keeping him under her wing. She corrected him and made sure he had plenty to eat, but from that first moment, there was something special between me and my son.
Now he was a young rooster and already interested in pullets. I looked fondly at him. “Drumstick, let’s go find your speckled chick. I’d like to meet her.”
“Right now, Dad?”
“Sure. No time like the present.”
“Okay. Is my comb messed up?”
“Nope. You look great. Let’s go.”
“Before we go, do you think I could crow this morning? Just this once?”
It was time to realize my son wasn’t as young as I thought. “Sure.” I flipped a wing in the direction of the weather vane. “Get on up there. Shake a tail feather.”
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