Saturday, December 13, 2014

Knowing Who's the Boss: Fred the Rooster forgets who's boss

My good friends Walter and Sherry Downs decided to get chickens a while back and, as will happen, not all of the chicks turn out to be hens. They had two roosters that were just beginning to crow. Because crowing is not considered a happy sound in some neighborhoods, Fred Mertz and Ricky Ricardo needed a new home. As you may have guessed, they found rooster heaven in Blue Springs, where fifteen hens were just waiting for a rooster.  Fred and Ricky have settled into a pretty comfortable routine. Ricky does a lot of crowing, not surprisingly, and Fred is in charge of the chicken coop. He says who comes and who goes. Fred and I have always gotten along just fine, until recently.

Fred never has liked Bill the Magnificent. For some reason, he disliked him from the start. Maybe it was because Bill wasn't Walter, but for whatever excuse that silly rooster chose, he declared war on Bill. When Bill went into the chicken coop to take feed, Fred would jump all over Bill. You can well imagine that did not go well. I feed the chickens now. Even when Fred was having his trouble with Bill, he was happy with me. Not long ago, though, Fred must have forgotten who I was. At my farm, all animals are required to remember the hand that feeds them and remember who is boss.  That's me. This remembering rule includes roosters, just in case you wondered. Apparently Fred forgot about the remembering rule. I walked into the chicken coop with feed for the feeder and that crazy rooster jumped all over me. When a big rooster decides to fly at you, he can do it with considerable force. The only reason I didn't fall down was because he rammed me into the door. I hate to say this, but I might have put my bucket in contact with a little of Fred's body. It was self defense and, thank the Good Lord, it got him off me.

I had more than a few words for Fred about this outrageous behavior and they included a discussion of fried rooster for supper. I do know how to dress a chicken, in case you wondered. It turned out that Fred did not respond to threats. The next day, I headed in with feed and Fred tried to jump on me again. This time, I was ready. I had my bucket up in an instant and, instead of ramming into me, he rammed into the bucket. I did not hit Fred. Fred hit himself. He jumped back and took a good long look at me. You are not going to believe this, but a good dose of remembering jumped all over that rooster and he came to himself. He took a few steps back and thanked me for the feed I so graciously provided. He was grateful I had brought water to quench his thirst. He was grateful for all the chickens that lived in the chicken coop that he had thought was his, but now realized was mine. It was a wonderful moment, and one neither of us have forgotten. Fred and I are friends, mostly because he got his remember-er fixed and he knows who's boss.

It's easy to get so accustomed to the little area over which we think we are in charge that we forget who is really in charge, don't we? I have a friend who likes to say, "There is a God, and you are not it." Admittedly, I have sometimes needed reminding of that fact. Perhaps we all do. There is a God, and you are not it. It's not really that we think we are God. What generally happens is that we think we are in charge. We can become so accustomed to making decisions, doing what we want, and being self-sufficient that we forget those decisions we make, the actions we take, the supposed self-sufficiency are all possible because of the grace of God. That grace is His wonderful way of giving us what we don't deserve. Just like old Fred the Rooster, we can forget who's boss and start demanding our way. God must just laugh at our foolishness. After a while, though, he has to settle us down for our own protection. Fred the Rooster would have starved to death if he'd had his way. Aren't you grateful God doesn't let us get that far? Perhaps we should do what the animals here at the farm are required to do. When they start feeling sassy, they have to remember who's boss and recognize the hand that feeds them. It's a pretty good rule for us, as well.
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