[lit-ideas] Sunday Something

  • From: David Ritchie <profdritchie@xxxxxxxxx>
  • To: lit-ideas@xxxxxxxxxxxxx
  • Date: Sun, 23 Nov 2014 13:32:21 -0800

It's hard to like November weather, particularly on a dark morning, of which 
the month generally supplies a sufficiency.  I stood beneath the eave, 
sheltered from the rain, fumbling for a key with which to lock the back door.  
I checked to see whether my phone was on.  I've been known to walk around for 
half a day thinking, "What a good phone that is, and how quiet!"  That would be 
because it's not actually on.  The girls, gathered beneath the sheltering 
leaves of the oak hydrangea muttered, "Bloody weather."
I offered, "It's warmer than before."
"Yeeees," they agreed.  "Riiight."
"Not good for egg-laying?" I inquired.  It had been ten days since any harvest. 
 There was an awkward shifting from one leg to the other.
"You'll notice," said Mimo, after a pause, "that the term 'fall-off...'"
"As in 'fall-off in production...'" Appenzeller injected.
"Contains the term, 'Fall.'"
"Per our dear Sister Wensledale, we're inclined to blame Nature."
"Have you ever heard," I asked, "the tale of the 'Little Red Hen?'"
"Red?  No one red around here," said Mimo, who is named after an orange cheese, 
"The story has a moral," I said.  "The little red hen says that those who don't 
work, don't eat."
"Oh we *work*," said Rocky, relaxing.
"Absolutely," said Mimo.
"All the time," said Appenzeller.
"Worms can be a bugger to find," said Peccorino.
"Haven't you seen us scratching?!"
I'd missed out in the last round of "Chicken God of the Year"; the God who's 
off in Italy pipped me at the post, absence making the chicken heart grow 
fonder.  So I had nothing to lose, "Go on."
Appenzeller thought to turn on her sister.  "In certain lights, Mimo..."
Swift as a Viking, Mimo turned on her.  Appenzeller jumped when pecked.
Mimo assumed a neutral tone of voice, "My managerial record is available to 
all.  I have a stellar record."
"Stars?" asked Cheddar.  "I've heard of them.  Never seen them though."
"Senior Management has been working," Rocky declared, "whenever and wherever 
there is light."
"Of which there is not much," said Mimo.  "Difficult circumstances."
"Is that thunder again?"
Peccorino declared she had communed with Wensleydale's spirit and received 
special dispensation which excused her from egg laying for the period until 
Beltane.  Appenzeller said, "Me too."  Everyone stared at Cheddar, who had been 
eyeing the sky, absently.

The upside of dying is that you're chances of winning poetry prizes are much 
improved.  I'd be wary of the wine.  The quality of anything that starts out as 
water is not assured.

Feet of clay is something of a fashion among gods.  Also the 
Ghost-in-the-Machine dance, which is hard to describe.

We can't care about everything.  In my childhood we were instructed to care and 
given bus passes to go put theory into practice.  Visiting old age homes, I 
learned to listen.  But when the evenings closed in and there was another bus 
journey, or a long walk in the rain--it was always rainy and dark--and with 
hours of homework in prospect, I learned limits.  Now when I read of plights in 
the daily paper, I think, "Burundi will have to make its own way, without me."  
Parts of Glasgow too.

"He had a massive stroke," is bad news except in the case of a pet.  While 
watching episodes of "Rumpole of the Bailey," I finished dinner and a glass or 
two of Chateaux Really Not Too Bad for the Price.  The record will show I was 
then sat upon by exactly the kind of cat which, were I to acknowledge being 
allergic to said animal's spit, might set me off.  He nudged me with his head.  
And then along came Mac, the border collie.  If that kind of stuff was being 
distributed then he, being of larger species, would also like a proportionate 
measure, particularly in re. behind the ear.  I reminded myself not to wipe my 
eyes and did my best, but then I had to wash my hands of them, pleading as I 
rose, nolo contendere.

David Ritchie,
Portland, Oregon

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