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Brian Fleck

Chicken wishing

Walkin'

A couple of surprises came out of the old hen house recently.
The coop isn’t old at all, but it’s been a few seasons since the girls were spring chickens. Nevertheless, they shouldn’t be over the hill, egg-laying wise. Typically, a hen produces from five to seven years. We have six chickens, average age three-and-a-half, so we should still be making omelets and deviled eggs to our heart’s content.
Wrong.
Creation tapered off this spring and then stopped all together with the beginning of summer. It was a bit of a mystery since production typically goes up in the summer months.

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A day in the life of a small town

Walkin'

Ran into Bob Jedlicka in Solon the other day.
Bob served as the city superintendent during the 1980s and ‘90s while I lived there, ran the newspaper and sat on the city council. “
A barrel-chested man, his knees began giving out on him years ago. As a result, he doesn’t so much walk as rock like a washing machine with an uneven load. His large chest also serves as an echo chamber. A man of few words, the ones he does speak echo long and deep before erupting from his mouth.

Stinking and exploding

Walkin'

Talk about your emotional swings.
In just 10 days, I went from the elation of the Cubs winning the World Series to the deep depression of the election of Donald Trump.
This week’s column was going to be about my earliest days of fandom for the loveable losers. I even started writing it before Tuesday:
Dave (Buzz) Buzello and I were as a thick as thieves in our preteens.
He lived a half-dozen houses down the street. Our mutual life’s goal was to discover a secret formula that would either: A.) Stink to high heaven or B.) Explode.

Heaven and hell

Walkin'

Blame it all on the Cubs.

Poisons

Walkin'

We went on our annual fall bicycle ride on the Kewash Nature Trail recently.
It was a gorgeous fall day. Sun out, temperature up and leaves in all their glory. On our half dozen or so rolls up and down the trail, we encountered a bunch of beautiful flora and fauna. On one early summer ride the periwinkles bloomed in all their blue and violet glory. On another, a huge buck with a splendid rack stood in waist high corn and watched us as we watched him.

Chicken ship

There’s been trouble in the old hen house. Someone complained to the ACLU (American Chicken Liberties Union) about the Buddhist prayer flags draped in a corner.
Like the much older and more renowned American Civil Liberties Union (also ACLU), both organizations are nonpartisan, non-profit. Both work through litigation, lobbying and community empowerment to achieve their mission: “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every chicken in this country by the Constitution and the laws of the United States.” Of course in the “civil” version, people are defended.

The big onion

Walkin'

Talked with Mom and Dad on the phone this morning.
The big news of the day was the Cubs. They don’t have cable so they couldn’t watch the series clincher against the Giants, but they did have a radio tuned in until about 10 p.m. That’s bedtime, they observe it pretty closely. It’s a rare evening that finds them staying up past or, even rarer, going to bed early.
We both agreed it’s actually better listening to it on the radio. The television announcers might be talking about what they had for lunch and completely miss describing the triple being played out on the field.

Pearl’s still in our heart

Walkin'

Pearl continues to be a great patient as she rehabs from knee surgery.
At 9, she’s no puppy and her leash-free romps on the farm or at the park may be behind her. But she still loves her walks even if she is tethered.
Pre-injury, I loved to get her amped up before taking her out.
“Wanna walk?” I’d ask.
She’d spark and shoot about like static electricity. Then I’d repeat the question at each step of my routine to get ready. By the time my shoes got slipped on, glasses found, hat donned and sunscreen sprayed, the voltage of her excitement surged to storm level.

One simple rule

Walkin'

When I first mentioned we joined the church across the street, several of our friends were fairly astonished.
I guess this is because I am, by nature, a fairly irreverent person.
I like to drink alcoholic beverages, for example, sometimes to the point of being howling at the moon drunk. I also smoke cigars occasionally and swear frequently. I make up stories about selling pot and amassing fortunes.

The old FSL stink eye

Walkin'

I got especially nervous after we joined the church across thover added an exponential component and she cleaned for two solid weeks.
“Poor Pearl is stuck in her kennel for 10 days,” Sabra said into the phone as I walked into the kitchen.

Would I kid you?

Walkin'

From the outside, I think we look normal enough in our white, two-story house along the highway. We keep the yard mowed, buy Girl Scout cookies, wave to neighbors, walk to church and live a fairly quiet life. I like to run around naked in the yard when there’s a full moon, but I only do that in the early morning hours when everyone else is safely tucked asleep. The low profile worked to my advantage while I raked in the dough from my marijuana growing operation and stacked the hundred dollar bills in the closet.

Coming clean

Walkin'

As I was saying, the final impetus to remove the stack of drug money from my office closet came when we landed the new minister as the guest of honor at a small dinner party and I was afraid Sabra would uncover the stash in a cleaning frenzy.