Laughter For One

Never Trust a Guinea Hen!

I grew up on a small farm in rural Pennsylvania. Our farm had a menagerie of animals from a few heifers to rabbits, pigs, chickens and ducks. One day, our father brought home four guinea hens.  They had thin necks, featherless heads, gray feathers with white polka dots and a strange call. In all honesty, they reminded me of a vulture waiting for its next meal.  However, Dad thought they would be a good addition to our farm. He told us that they would warn us if anyone came into our yard. He compared them to a watchdog. You know, a dog that barks the first time, he or she sniffs the smell of a person tiptoeing on your property.  I looked at Dad as he explained how wonderful it was going to be, knowing that we were protected by those hens.  As a young teen, I thought to myself, ” Really?”  Mom never locked our doors when we went to bed, and our dog Buddy never barked while we were sleeping.  I think Dad just wanted to add to his collection of animals that roamed our farm.  He could have at least bought something a little sweeter to look, and who didn’t make the hair on your arms stand on end!  As the days went by, the guinea hens seemed to settle into their environment or at least I hoped so. Do you think that a guinea hen can sense when they are not liked?  They seemed to look at me a little differently than they looked at my sisters, Donna and Emma.  It almost looked like they were smiling at everyone else but not at me. I tried my best to be kind to them. I truly loved all the animals on the farm, well maybe not the roosters. But even those rebel rousers did not scare me like those guinea hens did.  Then one day, everything changed……

 The guinea hens actually started to walk around me without their heads hung low. I did not have the feeling of red darts flying out of their eyes, heading straight towards me.  I started to relax. I started to like them. Well, just a little bit. When I fed them their dinner it almost looked like they were doing a little jig.  I smiled, as I walked back to the house. They finally accepted me.  I felt good.  Just maybe, I’d make myself believe that they were cute. Not!   I couldn’t wait to tell Mom just what happened. She would never believe that I was over my fear of the guinea hens.

Six sidewalks to go to reach the back door. Five sidewalks to go….. Then it happened. I heard a sound that stopped me in my tracks. I thought someone had come into our yard. I turned slowly and there they were, heads down, squawking, running, imaginary red darts shooting out of their eyes. I turned to run but felt like I had cement shoes on. I yelled for Mom and said to my feet, “Feet please don’t fail me now!” and took off.  Oh, no the kittens were sitting by the back door. Not just one but at least five or six.  Didn’t want to hurt those little darlings, so I did the next best thing. At least I thought it was. I ran around the side of the house, past the outhouse with the huge pear tree filled to the brim with the sweetest fruit. I told myself, ” Stop thinking about the juicy pears and keep running!  Mom!  Help me! Please!”  I kept running, glanced back and realized that those hens were almost on my heels. I ran like the wind but they kept chasing me. My heart was beating as I rounded the corner and saw Mom standing in the yard holding her dish towel. ” Mom, help me!”  I ran past her, then heard her yell for Dad.  As I passed the pear tree again, I looked back and saw Mom, swatting at the hens with her dish towel, running as fast as she could. Around we went. As I rounded the corner, there seemed to be more kittens sitting at the door. I thought, “Did they invite their friends?”  I kept running, looking back at Mom, one of the hens was almost up to her.  ” Run, Mom Run!”  Then all of a sudden, I heard dad yell for us to stop!  We stopped and Dad got between us and those demons from the barnyard.  He looked at the guinea hens and shouted,  “Get going!”   and go they did.  They hustled when they heard his voice!

Mom and I stood in the yard sweating after our marathon as Dad got the guinea hens a distance away from us.  Mom asked Dad why it took him so long to help us?  He replied, ” It’s not every day you get to see a show without buying a ticket!”  Mom and I looked at Dad and said, ” Very funny!” then, went in the house for something cold to drink.  As I looked out the window, I could see the hens inching their way towards the house, the hair stood up on my arms.

Soon after that, the guinea hens were gone. Dad had found them a new home. As I thought of the new owners, all I had to say was, ” Never trust a guinea hen!”

My heartfelt thoughts………………………………………………………………………….

Never Trust a Guinea Hen is a true story that happened to me over 50 years ago. As time passed, Mom and I talked often about the day the hens chased us around and around the house.  It is a wonderful memory that still makes me smile.  One last thought, the hair on my arms still stands on end when I see a Guinea Hen!

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