It was a matter of roll the bones chaos that Sabina acquired some farm-fresh-as in just barely out of a local chicken-eggs. She marveled at them as we cracked a few open to make breakfast. The yokes were the color of spun gold and summer sunshine. I too found a smirk crossing my face, bittersweet in its countenance, but perhaps there's a story or two with that.
We had our first chickens on the farm in my early adolescence. They served a dual purpose; fresh eggs and garbage disposal. Economics, in a sense. Kitchen scraps-except for meat and eggs shells-became part of the chicken feed. Sometimes we had more eggs than we knew what to do with.
A few months before we left North Carolina, Hurricane Hugo struck. Back then, that was considered a pretty vicious storm and the damage lingered for the months leading to our move, but that's another story. During the maelstrom, my mother and I ventured out to check on the kennel dogs and the chickens. My mother would fondly retell the story of how we found them on a fence rail, swaying in the wind, dejectedly clucking. Certainly, they were not thrilled at the meteorological circumstance, but we couldn't get them to move either. Their lot was cast, and the accepted this fate against the lashing winds and rain and falling debris.
Farm-fresh eggs was one of the reasons to visit my parents out in the badlands of eastern Colorado. I'd come home with at least a box full on a bad day. The sizes and colors of the shells was always interesting. The color of the yoke and the overall taste was that of divinity and the simple happy memories of growing up on a farm in those rural in-between places.
Every so often, I think about getting chickens again. It wouldn't be my first rodeo. There was always fear of them freezing in the winter, no matter how well protected they were from the elements, or predation, but that's just the circle of life there, Simba. I throw kitchen scraps out back by the berm as an offering to the birds and deer and other bits of herbivorous wildlife we share our Sahel with. Moving a hen for her eggs is something I've known how to do for almost twenty-six years.
Perhaps it's the fact I've already done the farmboy shtick, and, since that's in my past, to do it again would feel like stepping backward. Maybe it's the sloth of not wanting to deal with that kind of maintenance. Getting up early to let the hounds out is one thing-if my schedule and sleep patterns allow, I have the option of going back to bed for a bit-but being up early every day to feed is a pain in the ass. I know this. Besides, having livestock could potentially interfere with my walkabouts and that just will not do. Priorities and all.
But my hypocrisy knows no bounds and I do enjoy me some farm-fresh eggs. Sabina waxes poetic about how they are how eggs are suppose to taste. I find myself filled with some bittersweet memories of those badland farmstead days and of my mother. Such a strange thing, perhaps, but, like the hounds, something as novel as eggs fresh from a chicken are a way I find my mother is not really so far away after all.