Learning Not to Dress Jellybean

Learning Not to Dress Jellybean

In 1962, the Easter bunny brought more than baskets filled with candy eggs. My sisters and I became caretakers of three baby chicks. I picked an Easter name for my Rhode Island Red, Jellybean. For weeks we dreamed of how sweet and productive our hens would be. Our chickens thrived on laying mash. 

They also grew combs and started crowing.

Our egg dreams shattered, we still loved playing with our roosters. My sister Marcia dressed her rooster in baby doll clothes, and Nancy and I followed suit. Suddenly our roosters turned mean. Jellybean got so upset that he chased me, pecking and clawing. I climbed a tree to escape. Mother decided that was the last flap.

We were soon en route to the stable where we took riding lessons, clutching our roosters while feathers flew out the windows of our 1957 Chevrolet. Jellybean ran into the woods behind the barn, and I never saw him again. I never quit missing Jellybean though.

Fifty-four years later, I have a Rhode Island Red hen. My new Jellybean is up in years, but I do not care whether she lays eggs. We have an agreement: Jellybean will stay sweet. I will care for her, and I will never dress her in baby doll clothes.

Elizabeth Richardson, Mount Pleasant, a member of Union Power

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