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  • The first rays of sunrise launches my backyard into a wonderland of adventure and danger. From the warm comfort of my bed, I hear birds chirping and chattering. The lilac bush’s fragrance blows in on a breeze from my open window. Then I hear the crowing of our rooster at the top of his lungs. I really don’t like that noisy nasty old bird. Every morning, before breakfast, I get to gather the eggs from the hen house, which of course puts me in direct line with that puffy pile of feathers.

    The chicken yard and coop sits next to Grandpa’s shiny silver Airstream trailer, my favorite place in the whole wide world. It still had its wheels attached, just like a car. When the sun’s rays hit it, it sparkles like a star. Inside it is like a cave with one large window. Grandpa and I love to sit in that window where he tells me story after story of railroads and gardens. He is my hero, my best friend, my whole backyard world.

    Once past my morning greeting to Grandpa, I sneak into the chicken yard. That rotten rooster is busy pecking and scratching in the far corner of the yard, so I move quickly, but quietly to the hen house. Inside, it is dark; and smells of ammonia burning my nose. The hens are still on their nest and all seem to be in a trance, with a low clucking sound like the “Ohmmmmm…”of chanting monks.

    Hens can be nasty when you disturb their nesting, so I always look first for the eggs that are to the side of each hen. Then, very reluctantly, I gently move a hen in order to reach under her to gather the remaining eggs. She quietly accepts my movement. I breathe a deep sigh of relief, then move on to the next hen. She becomes quite annoyed, screeching and spreading her wings, fluttering around pecking at me. Within seconds a chorus of screeching hens rings out from the hen house. Old Puffy Feathers races in with his wings extended and his beak pointed at me like a weapon.

    Before I know what has happened that old rooster’s got me backed into the corner of the coop and he is prancing and dancing around me, cocking his head and pecking at me like he’s going to kill me. I scream “Grandpa! Help! The rooster’s got me cornered again.”

    “Get out of here! You old pest,” Grandpa yells as he runs in kicking and swinging at that old rooster. Then he swoops down and grabs me up in his strong safe arms. Once again saved by Grandpa; maybe that is why I love him so much.

    After the commotion subsides and my tears are dried, we gather the rest of the eggs. Grandpa picks up the hen while I gather the eggs. Funny how those hens never seem to be bothered when he holds them. As for me, I am just glad to have my grandpa right in my own backyard.
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