Hours, Days, Seasons, Chickens

Autumn 2008 saw us settling into an agreeable, albeit chaotic, routine around the Doughty homestead. 

Jasmine was now 17 and a high school junior, busy with friends, school, friends, band, and friends.  Tristan was settling into the second grade at our neighborhood school, having found several good buddies of his own and even a girlfriend.  Mr. Bubby was branching out, too.  We had found a daycare right across the street from Jasmine’s high school, itself only about a quarter mile down the road from my work.  Jaz would walk over after school and hang out with Bubby and his “wife” Lucy (I swear sometimes they looked just like Archie Bunker and Edith) and the other kids at daycare until I got off work, picked up Tristan, and then swung by the daycare before we all headed home.  

The boys’ mom had set us up on Skype before she left for Afghanistan, so we were able to talk to her that way, as well as via telephone and, of all things, Facebook.  Our middle daughter, Misty, had recently set up a Facebook account for me (thank you, Misty!) and I used it to post countless pictures of the boys so their mom could see what we were doing each day.

We did not watch or listen to the news during that time; rather, we attempted to stay in the moment as best we could.  The anxiety we all felt knowing our daughter/mother/sister was in Afghanistan was offset by daily adventures and milestones. 

One particular celebration I remember was when Gig and Clucky, now around six months old and chicks no longer, started to lay eggs.  Gigi was first, with her smallish, brown speckled eggs.  It took Clucky a while longer to figure things out, but she finally got the hang of it.  Her eggs were pinkish – easily distinguished from Gigi’s, so we could always  tell who was laying where or if one of them skipped a day.

We marked the occasion by baking a special “Chicken Cake” with those first few eggs.

Another memorable occasion was the clear fall day when we carved jack-o-lanterns on the patio, with Gigi and Clucky wandering through our legs, pecking the pumpkin seeds out of the pulp being slung everywhere.

 

That year, Tristan dressed up as Harry Potter for Halloween and Bubby was Yoda.  The next year, in 2009, we would go with an entirely Star Wars theme, per Tristan’s request — Clucky made a cameo appearance as the Death Star, Tristan was Boba Fett, Bubby was Yoda again (hey, the costume still fit), and their mom, having just returned safely from Afghanistan, was Princess Leia.

When a U.S. Marine goes out in public dressed up as Princess Leia, you know she’s happy to be home.

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