We once lived in the country in a rented farm cottage by a river.
I used to love arriving home from a busy day’s teaching. It was the perfect place to relax after a day spent with the disabled kids in my care. Once home, I’d step out of my car, the weariness would fall away, and I would somehow feel immediately refreshed.
Always, before I walked to the back door of the cottage, I would stroll over to the hen house and see how many eggs our chooks had laid during the day.
They were just very ordinary white chooks—nothing special—but we were fond of them and they gave generously of their beautiful yellow-yolk eggs, day by day.
On warm afternoons, they often sunbathed in the dusty driveway and I would toot the car’s horn quickly as I arrived home and they would scatter away.
One afternoon as I happily turned into the driveway and saw chooks sunbathing, I hit the car horn and whether no sound came out or whether I was driving a little faster than usual, one dust-bathing chook was too slow to move and the car hit her.
In a panic, I leapt out of the car to check the damage.
It was obvious; instead of a clucking, wing-flapping hen, there was a sad but rather large and messy pile of white feathers. No blood, just a dead chook.
I was mortified.
Almost worse was to come when I had to bury the poor thing. Sad and all as I was, perhaps the most distressing part of the whole unfortunate incident was discovering what a LARGE parcel a dead chook is. That day and for many days afterwards, my happy homecoming was ruined by the memory of an unplanned chook slaying and the resultant awful task of burying an unexpectedly large feathered body.