I was visiting a friend's farm when I first laid eyes on the big guy. It was love at first sight, he was one of the most beautiful roosters I had ever seen. By the end of my stay, they had talked me into taking him home with me. He was going to end up in the soup pot. How could I say no?
I happily hopped into the back seat of the car with my new friend. By the time we got to the McDonald's drive-through window, he had climbed right up into my lap and was snoring loudly. (Mickey D's informed us that he was the first rooster to come through their drive-through. I have a hard time believing that, those drive-through people have seen everything...)
When we got home, he was named Uncle Jessie (yes, Captain Awesome LOVES the Dukes of Hazzard...) and was put in with his new lady friends. But, alas! Uncle Jessie was not happy with his new harem. A day later, I realized those new relationships were just not going to work out. It appeared those ladies didn't fully realize the potential they had in befriending poor little Uncle Jessie. To put it succinctly, he was in dire danger of becoming henpecked.
What to do? I brought him up to the house and fashioned a fenced-off area with a cattle panel. Uncle Jessie seemed pretty happy with his new arrangement. Relieved, I went into the house, only to come out 20 minutes later to no Uncle Jessie! What on earth, where did my little buddy go? (Something that big and clumsy can actually fly???) I frantically raced around the front yard calling for him. He was nowhere to be found. Big Fireman was in the garage, under the car: "Honey, Uncle Jessie is GONE!" I got this reply, "Kate, look under the car." Lo and behold, Uncle Jessie was sitting right by hubby helping him fix the brakes. Nose to beak, they were... I fell even more madly in love. A rooster that is such a good buddy he will even fix the car with you!
Oh, the summer we had together! I spent all my time outdoors just visiting with my new friend. We would weed the garden together, play games together, read, and just hang out and be ourselves. We were so tight we didn't even have to talk, we were just content to be together. And how he loved his new home! He had the run of the garden and, let me tell you, he kept it bug free. He was my personal doorman. He would run and greet each and every visitor, and you haven't lived until you have had a Rooster Doorman.
We all miss our Uncle Jessie. Gone is the cheery clucking from the front step. Gone is the sweet scratching in the dirt. Even the dog misses him. Best buddies, those two. The kids miss him, even Big Fireman misses him. It's lonely out in that garage now.
To pay homage to the dearly departed, the big girls had a rooster funeral. Sweet Bluebird and her friends played dress-up and laid my buddy to rest. Of course, my sister and her family were over, so my niece, Annie, joined in on the dress-up fun. It was a hilarious night, we swapped tales of the little guy, then I plucked his feathers to use in craft projects.
I will always have a place in my heart for my little buddy. Relationships like ours are a once-in-a-lifetime thing. He can never be replaced.
But I do wonder if there is a Boss Hogg out there somewhere that would be happy in my garden? A Cletus, perhaps???