Tuesday, June 19, 2012
"A Chicken named Pit"
Good morning, I pray that the day is finding you well. I apologize for not talking with you for a few days. We have family in town and we are still getting settled into our new home; I know this is not an excuse but I guess I am looking for one and this is what I came up with. Many of you have responded to the “Ziplock incident of 1976.” Bread. I do like all the conversation. There is a group of you that seem to be really interested in the “Dreaded red handled screwdriver incident of 1974.” I will have to get around to talking about that one soon. This morning I started thinking about my favorite chicken. Back on the farm, we had a chicken. Actually, we had many chickens, geese, one rather strange one-eyed duck, Guinea hens, horses, a pet pig, sheep cats, and two dogs. The farm had a corral, barn, two cattle/ horse pens, an area that either sheep or pigs could reside in, if they were so inclined, we also had a chicken coup; our farm was more of a petting zoo and all the animals regarded themselves as part of the family. I think this was because we were not real farmers but people that liked living on a farm. We also had a pit-silo. A pit-silo is a silo that goes down instead of up. If you have ever driven along in the country and spotted a tall huge cylindrically shaped structure, that structure is a silo. If it is blue, it is a Harvester silo: one of the expensive ones; kind of like the John Deere tractors, everybody wanted a Harvester silo and a John Deere, not everyone could get them. A pit silo is just like those tall above ground silos but it is dug into the ground. Our pit silo was made out of concrete, I am not sure how deep it went, there was always silage in it. Silage is code for chopped up corn stalks and other stuff that cattle like to eat; I am glad that cattle like to eat silage because I don’ t think it tastes very good, yes I have tried it, and since cattle find it so appetizing mom did not feed it to us. We had a chicken named “Pit-silo.” She was a rather ugly chicken, as chickens go. She seemed to be in a constant state of molting, which made her look like she was not very well. She was very healthy but the bald patches made her look rather scary. We called her “Pit-silo” because she liked to nest right next to the pit-silo. She had the annoying habit of laying an egg, jumping up excitedly and promptly fall into the pit-silo. One of my jobs on the farm was to get “Pit-silo” out of the pit-silo. The silage was always around 20 ft. down from the top. My job was to climb down the ladder that was on the inside of the pit-silo and chase a chicken. Dad’s job was to lower a metal pail on a rope and after I put the chicken in the pail haul the pail up, remove the chicken and tell me to get out of the pit before the fumes would overcome me. I learned three things on my first foray in the pit-silo. First of all it is round, try cornering a chicken in a space that has no corners. Second, there are pockets in the silage. You could be running along, take your next step and poof your gone. Luckily, I sank up to my chest; still it is a bit unsettling. Third, as the silage ferments; yes, silage ferments. I think that is why cattle liked it so much; deeding time was probably “cattle happy hour.” Gases were produced which could replace the oxygen and you could literally suffocate. I was always worried about suffocating, not the suffocating part, but the funeral part. As I chased this chicken around this cylindrical structure, chickens are fast by the way. I kept thinking about my eulogy. “Roger died chasing a chicken around a pit-silo; he suffocated on fermented corn stalks.” This would be a embarrassing way for a 14 year old boy to go. Eventually I would catch the chicken, and as time went on “pit-silo” would not even run from me. She would lay her egg, get excited, fall into the pit-silo and wait patiently for me to come pick her up, place her gently into the metal pail, dad would pull her to freedom and I would climb out. An offshoot of all this pit-siloing was that “Pit-silo” would come up on the porch, and if anyone was sitting on the porch she would jump right into their lap for a pet. The real farmers would come over and just shake their heads at this family sitting on the porch with a featherless chicken on one lap, a cat in another, a dog resting on the porch, and a pig lying on its back in the lawn. As I sit here at the YMCA, my office is right by the welcome center. I listen to the conversations as people come in. Many of the conversations are about lives that resemble my chasing a chicken in a pit-silo. Another way to look at it is, “life on a hamster wheel.” What I love about our welcome center is that after listening to these gripes, which are actually cries for help, the staff talks about how the “Y” is a place to let the world flow off their backs. People come and workout, they come to sit and read, they come to decompress; we are welcoming community of people that are not so interested in what a person looks like on the outside, we are more interested on what they look like on the inside. We look past “pit-silo’s” and see the beauty of the heart within. “Pit-silo” eventually learned to not fall into the pit. Her feathers grew in and she was a beautiful on the outside as she was on the inside. We see the same thing here at the YMCA; people healing inside, people becoming healthy which shows on the outside too. If you have not been in a YMCA lately, check it out. Chances are there is a place for you. 20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:20-21) I look forward to seeing you. Blessings,