Aaunt Hary, whose real name is Harriet, hollered; “Come and get it!” from the back-door of the farmhouse. Me and my brother, Eddie, are from a city that’s one state away from here. Our parents thought we needed to breathe some fresh country air, so we were dropped-off at Uncle Frank and Aunt Hary’s ranch yesterday. I think they just wanted to get rid of us for the summer. For breakfast, Aunt Hary baked some warm, flaky biscuits, in a special stove that burns wood. We ate them wonderful biscuits, with eggs and sausage: it was the best breakfast I ever had in my life! I took my third biscuit outside and sat on the back step. I savored it, bit-by-bit.

Suddenly, I got these squawking beaks and flapping wings in my face. I jumped up and ran, like my pants was on fire! I ran to a tree that Uncle Frank calls a “pee-can” tree. I don’t know how, but I got up that tree! Those chickens kept squawking and bock-bocking at me, so I threw the rest of my biscuit; at them hateful chickens. I kept climbing until the branches got wobbly. Looking down at them rotten chickens, I started to cry, because I was scared and my knees stung.

Eddie, Uncle Frank and Aunt Hary came running out the back door. Eddie pointed at me and started to laugh. Uncle Frank and Aunt Harry smiled and I started getting mad. “Your chickens tried to bite me!” I screamed. Uncle Frank howled with laughter. “Stop laughing at me!” I cried. “I didn’t come here to get eaten by your chickens!”
“Look at the big chicken in the tree,” giggled Eddie.
“Little Mandy, chickens ain’t got teeth,” Uncle Frank chuckled.
“Then how do they eat worms?” I yelled back.
“Well,” Uncle Frank began, “when you see ‘em pecking the ground, they’re really pecking-up little rocks, so they can swallow ‘em. Then, the rocks roll around in their stomach, grinding up what the chickens eat.”

Aunt Hary shooed away the chickens.
“Honey, they weren’t after you. They wanted your biscuit,” she said. “I got behind on my chores this morning, and they haven’t been fed yet. So, why don’t you come down, out of that tree and I’ll get ya another biscuit.”
I didn’t want any more biscuits – EVER!
“No!” I hollered. “I’m going to stay here until my dad comes to get me!”
“That’s too bad,” Aunt Hary sighed, “its going to get awfully cold up there tonight.

Cold? I don”t like being cold. I’d better think about this again.
“If I come down, would you teach me to make ice-cream?” I asked. “You know, the kind you put in a bucket of ice and spin around?”
I always wanted to do that!
Aunt Hary smiled and said. “Why sure!”
“Well,” I said, “I think I’m stuck too far up here to get down by myself.”
Uncle Frank laughed and added. “I got a ladder.”

When I got down on the ground again, I noticed my biscuit was gone. Aunt Hary and Eddie went back in the house and Uncle Frank went to the barn. I sat down on the back step and started thinking about the ice-cream. It made me feel better, but I kept my eyes peeled for those creepy chickens.

Eddie came out carrying a bucket. “Uncle Frank says I need to learn how to milk a cow,” he bragged.
“I hope it kicks you, for calling me a big chicken,” I said.
Uncle Frank walked to us carrying a basket. He put it down in front of me and said, “Take a look at that.”

I peeked in the basket and what I saw made my heart feel happy! Inside was a fuzzy, peeping baby chick. Perfect for holding against your cheek!
“May I pick it up?” I asked.
“Why sure, Little Mandy,” Uncle Frank said.
I gently held it. Its beak was real tiny and it pecked my hand but it didn’t hurt.

“Peep!” the chick chirped.
“Let me hold it,” Eddie begged.
“No!” I said. “You”ll probably squish it.”
“No I won’t!” he yelled.
“You and me still got to milk that cow,” Uncle Frank told him.
“Oh, yeah,” Eddie said unhappily.

I smiled at my baby chick and thought that maybe, spending the summer here, won’t be so bad after all!

****
CHICKEN TEETH by Mary K. Phariss

Mary K.Phariss, Colorado City, Texas, USA. e-mail: devioon@zwallet.com
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