Over the years we’ve all learned not to underestimate my tree-hugging, Chaco-wearing sister Laura when she shares unorthodox or seemingly crazy plans. She’s not just talk, people. She actually DID stumble across such a thing as a Munchkin Cat 10 years ago (and Keebler has been part of our family ever since), and she actually DOES wrap all holiday and birthday gifts in repurposed snack bags, fabric or newspaper, and she actually DID join the Peace Corps and live in Africa for two years. So when Crazy Aunt Laura shared plans for backyard chickens in the Dallas home she shares with her husband, Leo, we should have known it would happen sooner than later. They house-hunted this spring with “backyard with room for a chicken coop” on their wishlist. Poor realtor.
If you build it… I was in Dallas for work back in September, and it happened to coincide with coop building day so I flew in early and spent the day working remotely from Laura’s house. Laura had seen a few examples of rehabbed playhouses on Pinterest, and incorporated her own Craigslist find into the design. My dad came up from San Antonio, and between Laura’s vision and Dad’s engineering the coop began to take shape. It’s a good thing I was there, too. They would have been lost without my “supervising” skills.
Chicken chat. So now the coop was ready for some chickens. Or as Laura refers to them, “the ladies.” That’s right. No roosters allowed in the Dallas city limits. So five ladies it was. Laura selected various breeds for various reasons — and began to give them names. Darcy, Ginger, Daisy, Margarita… but Laura wanted Colt to do the honors with #5. Any name he wanted. So, because this kid is truly not known for his “naming things” ability, I prepared Laura to have a 5th chicken named – Chicken. We let him think about it for several days since Darcy, Ginger, and Daisy were first to join the family, and Margarita and Chicken #5 would be joining later from a different hatchery. An early favorite was “Bawk!” which I can only attribute to a recent revival of the original Batman series in our house, but one day he came home certain he had the perfect name.
“Mommy, I know what I want to name the chicken. I learned it in Spanish Club today.”
I mentally scrolled through the handful of conversational Spanish words I know. Oh great, did he name it Baño? Or Pantalones?
Guess what, Laura. You’ve got a 5th chicken named – Chicken.
We sealed the deal with a FaceTime date to determine which of the last two ladies would be our Pollo.
It was a joke, until it wasn’t. The origin of the joke is the stuff of legend. Or could probably be found if you scroll back far enough in the ongoing group text between Laura, Becky, and me… But one of us suggested that the whole chicken situation was indeed so momentous it deserved a proper ribbon cutting. We can have a party! With champagne and everything!
So we did.
Last weekend, Laura invited a few friends, and Becky, Colt, and I roadtripped down from Fayetteville. Becky even brought a friend! Once people caught wind of the chance to participate in a Chicken Coop Ribbon Cutting – they were in.
We decorated Laura’s house and yard appropriately, and I will never forget the reaction of the woman at the bakery when Laura and I picked up the custom, chicken-themed cupcakes and cookies. We GASPED when she opened the box to show us. They were amazing. All the lady could say was, “well, SOMEbody likes chickens.”
The ladies were big and feathery enough to move from a box in the garage into the cutest chicken coop you ever did see. The champagne was poured, the scissors were at the ready, and the guests of honor made their appearance.
The champagne was toasted, the ribbon was cut, the ladies were all moved in, and the party was winding down. All that was left was huggin’ on the chickens.
I’m grateful for sisters who appreciate laughter and silliness, and who know when “what if we throw a chicken party?” is a serious question.