This is a story about a chicken. It’s not an earth-shattering story like so many stories these days, particularly that horrific one halfway around the world that occupies our hearts and minds and plays out a hundred different ways when you lie awake in the dark.
This is a quiet story, but we could all use something quiet about now—a diversion of sorts, if just for a moment.
We have a granddaughter who is one of the sweetest, softest things that ever fell from heaven. That might sound boastful, but it is only by way of contrast that we know she is sweet and soft. Our group as a whole is loud. We play loud, laugh loud and rib one another loud.
But this one is soft. Her voice is soft, her manner is soft and her gaze is soft. Even the hair that tumbles across her face is soft.
She lives in the country in a house her daddy and grandaddy built. She can see the chicken coop from the window in her daddy’s home office. She visits the coop every day.
The chickens flock around her, kicking up dust, cutting in front of her, erratically darting here and there. But one chicken walks a steady path, following the little girl. The two are close, so close that the girl has named the chicken after herself.
And so, Emma the chicken trails Emma the girl as she meanders down a path and ambles up a small rise to a plastic playset.
Sometimes they sit together next to the playhouse or on the slide, Emma the girl with Emma the chicken often nestled in her lap. The two Emmas watch treetops sway in the wind and study clouds floating across the sky.
Little Emma’s face is peaceful. Emma the chicken’s face is well, in my book, a bit too intense with those beady eyes and sudden jerking moves. Yet, once the chicken is in Emma’s lap, the old gal becomes restful, nearly sleeping with her eyes open.
Because you do things for those you love, soft Emma set to work at the kitchen table with yellow construction paper, tape and scissors. The zig zags were not easy to cut. They never are. It takes determination to get them even, particularly on a small scale. As for circumference, Emma the crafter probably doesn’t know what circumference means, but she knew the circle had to be just the right size.
She worked and worked, taping and cutting, cutting and taping, until at last she was satisfied.
She took her gift to Emma the chicken who received it with grace. The bird wore the gold crown and was the princess chicken for one fine day.
Well, not an entire day, but at least until the other chickens began pecking at her crown in fits of jealousy, knocked it from her head and trampled it underfoot. I think I saw that happen at a pageant once.
Nevertheless, Emma the girl was smiling, pleased that Emma the chicken had liked the crown and worn it. And for a brief moment, Emma the chicken didn’t look so intense and high-strung. She looked calm and at peace, as though she was sincerely pleased to be loved.