THE PECKING ORDER
Serious, by Robert L Crowe, 2004
A boy reflects upon his experience with a Big Brother.
- 1 Male
Product Id: #125
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An excerpt …
(the pecking order)
The teacher explained to me that the chicken was at the bottom of the pecking order. You see, chickens establish an order of importance for themselves. Not one pecks the leader but the leader pecks any one it wants. Then, each chicken pecks on another chicken that is weaker. The weakest animal is fair game for all of the others. The chicken I was watching was pecked-at and picked-on by all the others. It was the weakest … the bottom of the pecking order.
I stared at the scrawny chicken for some time. Even though it was a warm day, a chill came over me. You know what I thought? That chicken was me! I looked down at my own clothes with holes and stains that looked like torn or missing feathers. As I watched the ragged little chick I wanted so much to take it home and care for it.
The first time he came for me we didn’t go anyplace special, just out in the woods. We sat very still on a hillside and watched the squirrels work and play in the trees. Patches took a rumpled paper sack from his back pocket and we picked up hickory nuts. I guess the most exciting part was when he showed me some poison ivy. I told the kids at school they’d better not go in those woods without me or they might get poison!
One time we walked down an old dirt road out of town and sat down in a field of weeds. He dug up some dirt and watched a whole bunch of little bugs going everywhere. I saw my first red-wing blackbird that day. It was a really hot day ‘cause I still remember that water from the farmers well was the coldest drink I’ve ever had … froze my throat. And I got a sunflower to take to school.
(all good things …)
I guess one of the saddest days I had was when Patches told me that he was going away. He had a real job in another town but said he would write.
The next morning, in front of my door, I found a cage with a ragged little chicken inside and a note from Patches: “Take care of this one. It needs a friend.”
I don’t know where Patches went. He was just gone and he never came back. I missed him a lot. But mom said not to be sad ‘cause it was better than never having a friend.
I never knew his real name but if it happens to be you … thank you … very much.
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