“Good girl, you’re doing great,” he crooned, stroking her back as she shucked it back swallowing. He threw out another kernel and she went through the same process. “You really are very, very
dizzy daisy,” Mike chuckled, thinking how so very right the name he’d chosen was for her.
It’s the summer holidays. School is out and summer has begun. Every day is a day when doing nothing is exactly what you plan
to do. These are the days of “no guilt,” your heart and mind being truly free You just do what’s on your mind in the moment.
Mike is enjoying just this kind of day sitting on the sunny stoop of the large open barn-door, playing with his favorite pet chicken.
Mike would never say this out loud, but he “loves” this very weird, different chicken. In fact Mike has a lot of feelings, mixed feelings about this special chicken. He’s bound to this bird like no other. You see, she has this special “handicap” because of Mike. He has made her what she is today.
Because he could not heal her of symptoms he caused, he felt he must at least make the effort to be her friend. The chicken responded in spades. If she were human, we would have said, she forgave him and welcomed him as a friend. It’s kind of strange but Mike’s thoughtless action of the past has enriched both Mike’s and dizzy daisy’s life.
It all began on a Saturday about three months before. Mike was on the yard casually throwing rocks at the woodpile when his sister Geraldine joined him. She put her book about a Longstocking girl down and threw some rocks with him, commenting on the neat sounds the they made hitting the dried wood. Very quickly, it became a contest. Mike, considered himself as somewhat accurate, having actually “practiced” hitting things in his meanderings around the farm.
It quickly became clear that it had been a mistake challenging his sister to a contest. It seemed that regardless of the kind of target he suggested, she either equalled him or won outright. This was
of course extremely frustrating for Mike. After all he’d been throwing rocks, as far as he was concerned, all his eleven years of life. He was truly mystified as to how his younger sister could be so good at hitting things with rocks!
He knew she was a “brain-i-ack” and had grudgingly accepted the fact that she was smarter than him. She was one year behind him and her marks were always higher than his had been. Not only that,
they were usually the highest or near highest in her class. Every report card was no fun, as his parents also made a point of reminding him of this fact.
So, he was determined to excel in this, having decided that striking a target with rocks was a way to confirm his superiority in at least something over his younger sister.
“I have an idea.” he exclaimed, as he spun around, looking for another acceptable target, something that might even give him the advantage, “How about that power pole over by the barn?” he suggested.
“Sure, ok.” Said Geraldine, seemingly oblivious to the importance of the game. He could not believe how, in in spite of this cavalier attitude, that she’d still equalled or bettered him. This confused and frustrated him all at once.
Having arrived at the power pole near the barn Mike determined the distance of the throw by casually drawing a line in the dust. Geraldine was reading her book. He set up, toe on the line and paused. He decided that if he threw with his arm in an upright motion, in line with the tall post, his chances of missing were much less. There were no rules about how high or low, he just had to hit the post. This he considered was his secret advantage! It was to be, best out of three throws.
He threw first, his rock sailing to the left of the post. A miss.
Geraldine threw next. She put her book down on the ground and looking for a suitable rock. He offered her one from his pocket. She placed her toe on the line, and without a moment of consideration,
casually chucked her rock in the direction of the post. There was a thud. A direct hit. Mike grimaced, clenching his next rock hard in his hand.
For his second throw he considered carefully the fact he gone left on his first throw and attempted to compensate. He stood still, poised with the rock in his hand, his arm swinging slowly back
Across the yard his best friend, his dog Ricky noticed him and began bounding in pure joy, towards him. Meanwhile, Mike went into his wind-up, leaned back, his left leg in the air and began his
throwing motion. It was at this very moment Ricky hit him full force on his chest, attempting to lick his face. Mike was knocked off balance, but his arm already in forward motion, let go of the stone, which landed no more than ten feet in front of him. Meanwhile the force of Ricky’s enthusiasm landed them both in a squirming heap on the ground, Ricky hopping around in glee.
Mike scrambled to his feet, “That’s not fair, I get another chance to throw.” He declared.
Geraldine, calmly yet firmly responded. “I saw the rock fly out of your hand. It was a throw. It did not just fall down, it went at least ten feet forward. It was a real throw!”
Even though Mike protested, he knew she’d dug in her heels and that was that. Now of course, he did not feel like finishing the game. Thanks to his crazy dog’s antics he could no longer win, and
since that had been the purpose of the whole contest, in his mind it was over.
Just then, an event happened that would cause both of them to forget about the game. A hen exited through the small opening of the hen-house portion of the barn, strutting along like she owned the place. This unfortunately made her even more conspicuous since, she also happened to be the only chicken in sight.
Mike, who had already automatically reloaded, could not help himself.
It’s interesting how when circumstances are just right, we do things we’d never think of doing otherwise. This was one of
those situations. It seemed that the gods of rock throwing had turned against Mike. When this new “target” chicken presented herself, he just assumed that no matter how much he tried it would be impossible for him to hit her. After all, he figured, “if you cannot hit a post that doesn’t move, how can you hit a moving chicken?”
Without any further thought, but the security of knowing he couldn’t possibly hit her, he wound up venting all his frustrations, by throwing the rock towards her with all of his might.
His anxiety went through the roof as he watched his moving rock come into contact with the moving head of the chicken! There wasn’t much of a noise at all, but the chicken collapsed in a heap, her legs slowly stretching out, then she was still. Very still. Mike stood, his anxiety constricting his breathing, staring in shocked disbelief at what he thought he'd just seen happen.
“You killed that chicken!” Geraldine exclaimed, jumping up onto her feet her face inches from his face as he stood transfixed, staring at the inert chicken, “Mike, you killed that chicken and boy will dad ever be mad!”
(To be continued.)
"He also installed the latest in military technology on the towers and corners of Jerusalem for shooting arrows and hurling stones."
2 Chron. 26:11-15 (Message)
Photo: Cliff Derksen