THE CHICKS ARE IN THE MAIL
by Orv Alveshere
RURAL FREE DELIVERY MAIL (RFD) AS ENVISIONED
The summers had become breathlessly hot. The century was ¼ old.
The oldest daughter was nearly 10. The winters were brittle & cold.
Their grove of trees was slowly growing, thus limiting her view of the world.
She enjoyed the open spaces & fresh air, while she skipped & whirled.
Each spring there was the arrival of newborn calves, colts, lambs, geese & chicks.
She remembered spring as her fav’rite season, as her brief memoirs depicts.
She looked forward to the daily mail delivery…her fav’rite detail.
Something from the outside world, perhaps some surprise was in the mail.
HER DAD’S TALENT WAS BLACKSMITHING
As the oldest of 8, she wasn’t allowed to start the forge fire. She then cranked…
To bellow air to stoke the fire, while Dad heated steel. She was lovingly thanked.
There were hugs of appreciation from her rural blacksmith father.
With 7 siblings, it was one-on-one quality time with Dad, not a bother.
The task of helping that creative designer of steel went to her brother.
She’s occupied with washday, milking cows, meals & watching others.
As the sound of the mail car departed, she skipped down the trail.
She enjoyed that special privilege of fetching the U. S. mail.
LETTERS? PICTURE POST CARDS? CATALOGS? BIG BOXES?
One memorable day, an extremely heavy wooden box was found.
She raced home to get the small wagon. Then, humming, she was homeward bound.
That box contained shiny new metal-working tools when opened by Dad.
She saw marvelous inventions with Dad, it was a privilege she had.
What would the next mail delivery bring? Some repetition? A reprise?
But the highlight of the day was when the mailman brought a surprise.
“Any day now,” she was told, “A large square box would bring a myst’ry to unveil.”
Two weeks later it arrived, a wondrous treat. The chicks were in the mail.
FLURRY OF FINE-FEATHERED FUZZY FIGITY FRISKY FRENZIED EGGS-HIBITIONISTS
There were nickel-sized holes for air. She thought the holes were for peeking.
It was crammed with teeny, dainty yellow chicks, moving continu’sly & ‘peeping’.
Eggs-citing days. One-hundred tiny busy bodies in a cardboard box.
Celebrating siblings jostle to get a closer look. Someone talks;
No one listened, totally engrossed & charmed. For those daughters;
Adding new chores of scattering ground up feed & carrying water.
They loved the chick’s antsy actions. Routines changed, new daily duties entail…
From the start of an annual spring ritual of: the chicks are in the mail.
DEPRESSION YEARS: PROBLEMS FROM UNEQUALED HEAT & REPEAT HEAT/
The hot, dusty ‘30’s came. No grain grew. Some Ag grower’s lives became sad.
/DEARTH ON EARTH
Her Mom became a widow. A severe heart condition took her Dad.
No rain, only calves, colts & chicks grew. She drove horses on a rake;
Raking thistles to help cattle survive. Wells went dry causing more heartache.
No crops to thresh, no bundles to shock, sadly it was …’watch & wait’.
She had more chores & duties. Her sister went to the mailbox down by the gate.
The cows gave fragrant milk. All of their livestock became very thin & also frail.
Chicken dinners were months away, because the pullets were in the mail.
EGGS-CITED CHILDREN OF HER OWN/FLASHBACKS/POULTRY IN MOTION
Decades later She would drive her own children to get the mail in town.
For me, a memorable delivery of a box of chicks, near sundown.
Once the earth was scorched, wheat stalks scarce as hen’s teeth, cows looked like a skeleton crew.
Life had taken an upturn. Colts & calves frolicked. Healthy wheat stems grew.
Like before, seed catalogs, then seeds were delivered to the mail box.
But the family’s most special order of all would arrive in a cardboard box.
WE…peeked through air holes at peeping peppiness, turning heads or tail.
OUR Mom shared with us…& relived…her cherished joy…of when, the chicks were in the mail.
Copyright, all rights reserved, 10-2007, by Orv Alveshere, Rancho Mirage, CA (rural Manfred, N.D.)