By Shirley Ramsey
The Norman Transcript
NORMAN — Chicks colored for spring often become pets. The beginning of spring for many families is the arrival of a big box of yellow baby chicks.
The minute the box comes, everyone wants to open it. Marcy, who is six, can’t wait. “Oh, my!” she exclaims. Her mom rushes in. “Look and don’t touch,” she tells Marcy. Without warning, Marcy dumps the chicks out on the floor.
“Marcy!” mom says.
“Well, they didn’t like that ugly box,” Marcy replies.
Mom sighs. She finally gets all the chicks back in the box. Meantime, Marcy sulks.
A day later Marcy puts some chicks in her doll park. Mom retrieves them from the tiny slide and swing. She puts her arm around Marcy.
“I think you’d better learn how to take care of the chicks in their hutch,” Mom tells her. “No more chicks riding around in dolls’ super cars. OK?”
Sammy is watching baby Bantam chicks under the large umbrella of metal.
“They aren’t yellow, Daddy!” he finally cries out.
His dad holds a rust-colored chick in his palm and lets Sammy pet it with one finger.
“They’re supposed to be this color,” he tells him. “But when they grow up they’ll have bright and shiny feathers.”
“Do you think they will follow me around?” Sammy says.
“As long as you take care of them,” he replies
His Dad goes inside the house for a few minutes. When he returns, there’s a huge bowl of cereal in the chicken coup.
“I fed them, Dad!” Sammy says.
Dad grabs the bowl.
“I just brought you their food,” he says. “Don’t give them anything else.”
In no time, the Bantams follow Sammy around the yard.
“What’s the stick for?” his Dad says.
“I’m their shepherd,” Sammy replies. “I need a stick to chase away the lions and tigers.”
Ethan earns his allowance by taking care of the chicks. He feeds and waters them and pushes them apart when they fight over food. Ethan notices one of them standing apart and not eating.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with this one chick,” he tells his dad. “Do you think he’s sick?”
His dad checks it out.
“The good news is he’s not sick. He’s the smallest. He is being pushed away from food. I don’t know if he will thrive alone, but we can try,” Dad says.
Ethan and his dad find a wooden box and some wire. They convert them into a chicken coup. They transfer Will as Ethan names the chick to his new home. Ethan starts talking to him, telling him about his day at school and how the others are doing.
“What exactly are you trying to do with that chick?” his mom says.
“Dad said he might still get sick being alone. So I’m trying to keep him company,” Ethan replies.
After that, his mom started chatting with Will as she did her daily chores. Will outgrew the others, surprising Ethan and his parents. Will became the first of the group to run free.
Shirley Ramsey, a retired journalism professor, lives in Norman.
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