Memories of Spring

By Harriett Kostelecky
Categories: General, Independent Living

Photo of baby chicks with sunglasses

When I hear the word "spring", it reminds me of the first day of May. When I was a child, my father would go to town early in the morning and return around eleven o’clock with 500 three-day-old chicks. 

The little chicks were all chirping and looked so fragile. They came in cardboard boxes. The chicken coop had been prepared the day before with fresh straw or hay, whichever was available. One chick at a time was released to run free. They all were bright yellow and had funny little bodies. The old hens watched while we let the little ones go. It didn't take long, and the "old" hens would gather a few under their wings and cluck away. The old rooster used to strut and crow, trying to tell everybody and every living thing that he was "in charge". 

We, the children, all took turns making sure there was enough grain and water for everyone twice a day. Seeing how quickly the chicks grew to be chickens was a joy. It didn't take long, and the chicks were released to the farmyard. All would go well unless there were a thunderstorm, which meant rain and possibly hail. In that case, the chicks had to be herded back to the inside of the chicken coop. That's when you discovered how fast they could run the other way! 

Photo of Baby chicks chirping

Even as children, we all knew what would happen to those chickens, and that was sad, but it was a way of life. The week of harvesting on our farm meant we would prepare food for a minimum of 25 to 30 hungry men. (Three times a day—the day would start with the dawn and end with the dark.) So, at least ten chickens had to say goodbye to this world each day. 

Come September, there were enough chickens, known as hens, left to supply us with eggs and a chicken or two for dinner for the winter months. People often ask me if one can store eggs - all I know is that we did store eggs in our root cellar for long periods of time. We would put fresh eggs into a crock pot and layer the eggs between layers of grain. 

Memories of SPRING! was written by Fellowship Square Surprise Resident Harriett Kostelecky. Harriett is a cherished resident of our Senior Living Community in Surprise, AZ.

Harriett volunteers her time for various activities and events, and this short story reflects one of her most well-known activities.

Each month, she comes up with a theme accompanied by a short story. She then creates centerpieces for the dining room tables and a “giveaway” for each resident that reflects the theme. This month, a centerpiece featuring 'baby chicks' adorns each table. After dinner, the residents take home “peeps” and other candies. This is quite the undertaking as we have 325 residents and 40 dining room tables!

Photo of Easter basket with peeps candy

Stay tuned for June's short story. We hear it’s full of stars!

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