Playing Chicken.

Chicken purse

Weekly Writing Challenge: The Best Medicine
Time to work out your own funny bone! This week, write about whatever topic you’d like, but go for laughs.

My sister Missy and my dad had an especially playful relationship.  They pulled pranks on one another, gave each other trouble, and goofed around constantly.  Missy was as much the instigator as Dad was.  For example, when Dad teased her, she’d admonish him and threaten, with mock seriousness, to ‘get the spoons.’ 

Getting the spoons meant she would pull two large serving spoons out of the drawer and ‘play’ them on Dad’s arm or back (or sometimes his head) like drumsticks.  Dad, in turn, might ‘accidentally’ butter her arm at the dinner table as he buttered his bread.  Sometimes he would go outside when it was getting dark, and, as Missy and I did the dishes, would sneak to the window above the sink, suddenly showing his face and making us shriek. You just never knew what to expect from Missy or from Dad.

I always wished that I could joke with my folks the way she did, but none of us other siblings had her special touch. Dad and Missy had a very close bond, and much of that was their shared sense of silliness.  Missy, especially, was always thinking of stunts she could pull on Dad; while she was the brains of the operation, I usually ended up being dragged along as the brawn.

One afternoon, when she was about 15, and I was about 12, Missy had a grand idea.  She collared me and told me to go find a box: we were going to pull a trick on Dad.  So, like the dutiful little sister (and errand boy) that I was, I found a box and reported back to her.  We went outside to the shed, and she got me a fishing net with about a 4-ft handle.  We proceeded to the chicken coop out back.  We were going to catch us a chicken! 

After running around in the pen for awhile, I was finally able to get the net over one of the agitated hens.  She squawked something fierce, and left me with a few scratches and welts, but once we put her in the box, she settled down.  We folded the flaps over on the top of the box so there was just a little opening at the top.  We peeked inside; the chicken was eyeing us, but she stayed quiet.  Perfect.

We sneaked in the back door, and I carried the box into Mom and Dad’s room.  Missy told me to set it down on Dad’s side of the bed.  Then, with hushed giggles, we ran upstairs to her room, which was directly above our parents’ room, to listen at the vent.  For some reason I can no longer recall, she knew Dad was heading to his bedroom

Soon enough, we heard Dad in the hallway.  We held our breath.  We heard him go into the bedroom, where he saw the box.  He went to open it, and we heard, WHAT THE — ?!??  MELISSAAAAAAAAA!!!!!!!!!!!  And then laughter.  She had gotten him again.

Missy and I were rolling on the floor, we were laughing so hard. 

Fortunately for us all, Dad hadn’t let the chicken out of the box – he had opened it only far enough to see what was in it and closed it up quickly when the chicken started squawking and flapping her wings.  (I was really glad, because I didn’t want to be cleaning up the mess.)

No Secret

I wrote this poem for the Daily Press Weekly Writing Challenge
and because April is National Poetry Writing Month (NaPoWriMo).

bubble shot

There’s no secret to poetry.
It can’t be forced out like toothpaste from a tube.

That just makes a mess.

You have to coax it sometimes,
Word by hesitant word,

Entice it
With promises

Caress it
Until it relaxes and opens and comes of its own.

When it blooms and hovering bees taste the nectar

When it ripens and its full aroma floods

When you feel the weight in your hand, on the air

That’s when you know it has burst forth of its own accord,
Willingly, eagerly, uncontained

And it’s no longer about you
Or the effort,
Or the desire.

Your control is an illusion. The words are eternal, and they’re not yours.

You can borrow them for a while,

Roll them around in your mouth and spit them out,

Teach them to dance your way,

Dress them up or dirty them,

But they’re not yours.

In the end, you set them free

To soar again.

photo credit rhett maxwell