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We're not chicken to repeat past mistakes

June 12, 2013

Real Men are fascinating. We will throw our own children up in the air, spin them ’round and ’round by the wrists like a carnival ride and dangle them off of second-story balconies — yet we will not get within 10 feet of the satellite dish with the riding lawnmower.

Too much bad stuff could happen.

Kids are resilient, whereas one little bump of the dish could unleash terrors best not contemplated, especially on a ball night.

So it is with this in mind that I salute the Real Men who were comfortable enough with their manhood to be seen over the weekend at the Maryland Poultry Swap in Sharpsburg.

Beth, who traffics in exotic breeds of fowl, had had this day circled on her calendar since forever, a date that was sacred to the detriment of birthdays, anniversaries, doctor appointments, weddings, etc. Had the apocalypse been scheduled for June 8, there would have been a whole lot of heavenly hosts with time on their hands.

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I knew my role in all this. It was not to prevent us from winding up with more fowl, it was simply to limit the damage. In fact, it might be said that I had a greater interest in attending this poultry swap than did Beth, although for the opposite reason.

I had been out of town, and when I returned I was greeted with the qualifier, “You didn’t specifically say that I wasn’t to get any more chickens while you were away, did you?”

This is how we wound up with a little feather duster of a rooster named Bo — even though we had sworn we would never have another rooster — and a half dozen Silkie (that’s a breed) chicks in the basement, even though we had sworn we would never again have chicks in the basement.

We had also mutually sworn that we would never raise turkeys again. The trauma of having a dozen 20-pound birds running roughshod over the homestead, drinking out of guests’ coffee cups and flying to the second-floor bathroom window was an error we were bound not to repeat.

Until we repeated it.

Turkeys look so harmless when they are little chicks, and besides, this time we calculated that we could improve upon our confinement methodology.

“Free range” sounds like the patriotic way to raise Thanksgiving supper, but try to tell that to the UPS driver who has been attacked by a flock of toms that has just concluded that the color brown is sexy.

Outside of the turkeys, we came away relatively unscathed — we purchased a handful of “Polish Tophat” chicks, which are pretty cute when little, but grow up to resemble Dee Snider of Twisted Sister.

Those little guys fit right in, but as you might have suspected, the turkeys are already trouble. With the rains earlier this week, it was crucial to find a way to keep them dry, a feat we assumed we had accomplished with a cat carrier and a tarp.

We had provided the hardware; the only thing left was for the turkey chicks to access it. Watching them pace in their pen, Beth asked: “Do you think the turkeys will have the sense to walk into the cat carrier if it starts to rain?”

I assured her that anytime a sentence begins with the words “Do you think that the turkeys will have the sense to ...” the answer will always be “no.”

Of course, considering that we are in the process of repeating past mistakes even though we know better, the same might be said for us.

Tim Rowland is a Herald-Mail columnist. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 6997, or via email at timr@herald-mail.com.

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