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  • My mother fell in love with my father while they were both in college at Florida State. My father had returned to school, just out of the Korean War, and my mother was only eighteen but in her second year of college - having been advanced by ability in private girl's schools.

    Susan loved Edward for his rakish good looks, no doubt, however, she also harbored a secret desire to become the farmer's wife. My father had been raised on a dairy farm in New York, just outside of Ithaca. This is where the young couple honeymooned.

    My mother's hopes for becoming the farmer's wife were dashed by my father - he wanted no part of that life. He had been up with the chickens his entire life till he went away to college - and there was no turning back for him.

    Imagine his surprise when, flash forward 20 years, my mother pulled up to the farmstead where we lived but did not farm (the only thing they grew was our big family) with a trunk full of chickens. My mother drove up the road in her white Cadillac El Dorado, rolling to a stop outside the farm house, dust billowing in the afternoon sun. Mom had her hired man, Ronnie - he worked at her office - pop the trunk and about twenty hens and two roosters took a collective gasp of air.

    The farm had an abandoned chicken house that now had new tenants. My father was not amused that first morning when the roosters began crowing at 4 am. He still retained the habit of rising early - but this was early even for him. Another time, the chickens were raising hell and it turned out that there was a possum in the hen house. My father was dispatched with the only weapon at his disposal - a nine iron.

    My most vivid memory of living with chickens occurred when both of my parents forgot to pick up the chicken feed. We woke up to find all of our chickens perched on the steps to the house. They would not give way when it was time for us to go down the long dirt road to meet the school bus. It was like a scene from Hitchcock's movie - their level and unwaveringly malevolent gaze and their refusal to move. They were on a chicken hunger strike. My mother ended up cooking a pot of brown rice for the chickens and we made the bus with seconds to spare.

    I recognize my mom today for this story and so many others. Never a dull moment, Mom. I miss you.
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