Another letter to Julia, age 6, Nov. 1999, (Part One)

Jack had already moved into his Y2K cabin and met my family when he wrote this:

Hi Julia,
Thanks for the butterfly you colored. I’m trying to find just the right place for it–if the refrigerator was higher, the door would be perfect- but in the absence of that I’ve thumb-tacked it to one of the wall studs for the time being.
Your suggestion about getting the chickens to peck a hole in the paper was a good one. However, I think you failed to take into account the communist leanings of these birds.
We had a conference on the matter and the chickens decided they were going to stand shoulder to shoulder on the matter– that they must have unanimity on it before anyone did any pecking, so as to make certain no one used the issue to curry special treatment (this while most of the Aracaunas and the black silk lace layers cast dark looks at the silkies, and certain others scowled at Lady McBeth).
In any case they couldn’t reach agreement, and the default position was that no one would peck the paper.
However, upon seeing the picture you sent the black Jap hen- Madame Butterfly- softened a bit– she hinted vainly that the coloring was intended for her. Madame Butterfly is an anarchist in any case.
So when the other birds were involved in matters important to chicken-hood– commenting in soft clucks to one another about the stuff they were scratching, jumping on tables knocking things off, scurrying here and there for morsels claimed by someone else, dodging guineas, and being alternately scared and aggressive; during all that Madame Butterfly came to me and gave me permission to say hello in her stead– a sort of Power of Attorney to sign for her.
So, not without grave reservations for the repercusions should the other chickens learn of it; not to mention the opportunities the black jap will now have for coercion or even extortion, I bend to your wishes and hers:

(Peck hole made by chicken here)

Madame Butterfly, Black Japanese Bantam, The Great Continental Divide
November 30, 1999.

Miss Naiad was badly injured by an owl last night– she is lucky to be alive.
I think it was probably a road rage incident but as you are probably know already, owls in these parts are known for drive-by shootings, too. It isn’t uncommon– you might have seen them yourself if you happened to catch them in your flashlight, baggy feathers and cap turned backward.

(To be continued…)

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