Crafting Gentleness

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

"I had decided that it was time to get chickens."

"I had decided that it was time to get chickens. Having read books about these creatures, I knew that there were different breeds, each with its own characteristics. So I went to this man, spoke of the different types of fowl, and asked him, “What kind of chickens should I get?” In the instant after asking, I saw from his eyes that it was the wrong question; it didn’t make any sense to him. I had trained myself to watch peoples’ eyes when I asked my sometimes foolish questions, so I was more or less prepared for his reaction. I immediately asked another, “What kind of chickens do you have?” His eyes sparkled and he smiled, “New Hampshire Reds.” “Why do you have that kind?” “Because those are what my father had.” I decided to forget the books with their definitions and attributes, and listen to my neighbor’s experience. I started with New Hampshire Reds. In subsequent years, caring for a small flock of these chickens, I never regretted my decision. Indeed, I came to have a great affection for these particular chickens."

Lee Hoinacki. 1999. Stumbling Toward Justice: Stories of Place. University Park, Pennsylvania: Pennsylvania State University Press. pp 74-75.


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