A letter to Julia, age 6 (Part Two)

Continued from November 28th, which was Part One:

So, among the flock of humans out here on the Divide, there really aren’t any Lady McBeth’s to speak of, at least among the men. I’m not familiar enough with the wife folks to these fellows to be able to comment.
So here I am, sort of like I’ve won the lottery, in the chicken reality of things. A whole flock of clucks, and can’t make it pay off in green. Shakespeare could probably have done something with this, though it lacks in violence, cheap puns, murder, and slapstick. Hmmm… well, not the slapstick.

Silkies are easy to love– any hen will tell you that. Cromwell and the two speckled birds are easy to be indifferent about. The little red bantam is just what he is– cocky–all bantam–noisy, and about what you’d expect. But I like Rosencrantz for his bizarre looks and contrary nature. Not cluckishness, though he is one, but there’s a style about him that grows on a person. On me, anyway. But then, I’m the guy who believed in Y2K.

However, these hens evidently don’t want a whole lot of foppish Rosencrantz’s strutting about hither, thither, and yon. Maybe it’s just as well. Rosencrantz is in a class all his own now that Guildenstern sleeps with the fishes. Evidently, it’s a class that the hens don’t really want to send into the next generation. They don’t snub him to his face, which is charitable I think, but just let a yellow chick come poking out of an eggshell and there seems to be a unanimity of opinion about where to draw the line.

A bit later:
When I was a boy of butterfly catching age, not much older than you I’d imagine, there was a story around that if you ever got a tiger swallowtail butterfly with a six-inch wingspan, there was someone at Eastern New Mexico University who would pay $100 for it. The story had been around for years and passed each year from the boys who were older and probably in their last summer of butterfly chasing to the new crop just arriving at an age to find an old lace curtain, a piece of clothesline wire, and a broomstick the head could be cut off of.
A hundred dollars was an awfully lot of money back there when the 20th century had barely turned the halfway point. A new Ford or Chevy could be had for $1200.
Anyway, nobody knew who out there would pay it, but assumed it was true– to this day when I see a tiger swallowtail I automatically estimate the wingspan and briefly consider whether I might yet collect that hundred bucks.

(… to be continued…)

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