Emma’s chin was quivering as she walked into the bathroom where Todd and I were frantically trying to get ready for church.
And she started to cry. So did I. I’m pretty sure Todd was blinking back some tears, too.
(Even typing this makes me cry. Take that – all of you people who say I have a heart of stone.)
I know what you’re thinking. “Wasn’t Rowena just a chicken?”
Nope – Rowena was Emma’s baby.
She never realized she wasn’t a person. Whenever we were outside, she would follow us around the yard, happily chicken-purring. If any of us stopped to sit down, we would find ourselves with a little black chicken on our laps, looking lovingly into our eyes.
She LOVED strawberries and spaghetti, along with spiders and worms. Joshua liked to carry her like a gun, aiming her at bugs which she would slurp up with delight.
She loved to help me in the garden. She would stay by my side for hours, digging up onion bulbs as I planted them, eating peas faster than I could put them in the ground, pruning the broccoli. Come to think of it, “help” may not quite be the right word. But she would certainly keep me company.
Sometimes Rowena would wander across the street to our neighbor’s house. She knew they would always greet her with a handful of grain.
Winters were hard on Roe. Without her kids to play with, she would sneak into the front yard and just wait for someone to walk by so she could “visit.” When our new sectional was delivered last winter, I was trying to keep the kids out from under the delivery men’s feet when I heard, “Hey! There’s a chicken on my head!” Rowena had made a new friend.
Even though she never thought of herself as a chicken, she was definitely the alpha hen of her little flock. Sometimes I would hear her try to crow in the morning, which – let’s just say she wasn’t very good at it.
Rowena was a free spirit. She hated being locked in her coop. For the majority of the time, she was given free run of the back yard, but last week we locked Roe and her two chicken buddies into their coop so that our garden could have a few chicken-free weeks as it was getting established. Rowena cried, Emma cried, Jakob let her out.
The next day, we put her in the coop again. That afternoon, Emma noticed that she wasn’t feeling well. She seemed to have hurt her leg. Emma gave her a drink and made a soft, fluffy bad in the sawdust for her. The next few days were snowy and cold. When we would peek in at Roe, she was huddled up next to Helga and Albus. We couldn’t tell if she was doing any better or not, since it was so cold that none of the chickens wanted to move.
But this morning when Em went to check on her, she was gone. Todd said it looked like she had just fallen asleep.
We’ll miss you, Roe.