Yes, I admit it. I chose him. He was hiding in plain site in the food section of Home Goods. (Odd place I thought.) We had already picked out three end tables for the patio, and I told Jed I wanted to do a quick check of the food department to look for a candy thermometer. ( I didn’t know you needed a candy thermometer to make jelly, but that’s another story, and recipe.) Anyway, no candy thermometer. But a big rooster, and when Jed showed up I draped my arms around the big recycled metal guy and said “We need him.”
A big guy with tattoos (who we had been maneuvering our carts around through the narrow aisles) says to Jed “I got your back.” Jed thought he said “I brought it back”, and asked him why. Confusion reigns for a moment and then Tattoo Guy says (thinking he will help Jed talk me out of a ridiculous purchase.) “The only reason to buy something like this would be if you lived on a farm and had a barn that you could put it by.” I immediately respond with “Exactly! We live on a farm and we have a big barn!” at which point Tattoo Guy turns to Jed and says “Sorry, bro. I gotta go with your wife on this one. You got a farm. You got a barn. You gotta get this rooster.”
So then the conversation turns to how we’re going to get the big rooster home.
Tattoo guy: “If you live on a farm you drive a truck, so no problem.”
Jed: “Yes, we have a truck, but we didn’t drive it here.”
Woman from the food department: “We’d be happy to hold the rooster for you once you’ve paid for it. Then you could go home and get the truck.”
Jed: “I think I can get this in our car.”
I take that to mean we’re going to buy said rooster, henceforth known as Chanticleer. Joy joy. Except I’m not so sure about getting three side tables of varying shape plus a 5 foot rooster into our car.
First however, we need to get Chanticleer up to the cash register. I go in search of a cart while the guys discuss how much of a discount they could talk the store out of because of the dings and nicks in the metal feathers. I return with the cart and remind them that it’s recycled metal. The Woman from Food says “Oh I can give you a 10% discount for nicks.” as she rolls up with a giant rolling cart that will fit the rooster plus all three end tables.
Jed heads off to get the car while I stand in line to check out. Everyone gawks at the rooster on the cart at the end of the checkout line, and the cashier just nodded and smiled when I said “I’m the one with the rooster on the cart.” Transaction completed, Woman from Food helps me maneuver the cart with Chanticleer and three side tables outside where Jed was parked. He’d put all the seats down in the back, and was ready to load.
He looked at the cart full of rooster, frowned and said “Maybe it won’t all fit inside. If you can get some cardboard I’ll tie him to the roof.” Jed always travels with bungee cords. I never traveled with bungee cords before I met him, and I’m always amazed at how many things we end up tying to the roof of the car. I picture the drive home: beige SUV with five foot red, yellow, green, and blue rooster on the roof.) Woman from Food disappears to get cardboard.
Jed studies the trunk for a moment, “Let’s see if we can fit everything in the trunk.”
In goes Chanticleer. He fits!
In goes the first end table. It’s just a little iron thing with a wood top. No problem.
In goes the second end table. Big and round, hammered copper. It seems to fill what’s left of the trunk.
The third end table is big and round too with acqua metal strips. Jed holds it one way and then another way. He repositions the copper table, and moves Chanticleers legs to the side. He gently lifts the last table on top of the legs. It’s in.
Chanticleers beak is now pecking the door handle, but everything is in the trunk. We clap. Hoorah Jed!
We take off for home. In silence. Twenty miles of silence. with the exception of Chanticleer’s beak squeaking against the door. Uh oh, maybe this was a bad idea. Finally we pull down our road and up to our garage where Jed unloads the three end tables, and then Chanticleer. I start moving the end tables to the patio. Jed hollers “Put them wherever you want” as he heads to the barn. The next thing I see is Chanticleer where we used to have a big pile of vine cuttings out near the vineyard. Then Chanticleer has moved up to the top of the septic mound. Jed and I sit down on the side door steps. We agree that he looks good up there. Surprisingly he takes on the characteristics of a true sculpture up on the hill. We’d have to find a new place for the cement bench also sits on the mound. It’s already moved around the property a few times despite being heavy. I sense Jed might be warming up to the colorful object on our little hill.
I leave to water plants on the back patio. Next I hear the sound of “Little John”, our riding mower. Jed’s hooked up a wagon in the back and plopped Chanticleer in it. He’s headed across the meadow in back of the house. Suddenly he stops. He’s gotten pecked and has to add some rocks to the bottom of Chanticleer’s feet. I’m giggling at the sight, and Jed smirks and says ” I’m just giving him a tour of the property.” I do what people with iPhones do.
Finally Jed and Chanticleer arrive in the front yard in a very green spot. “What do you think about here?” hollers Jed. I nod and say “That could work.” After a moment, Jed grins back at me and asks “Why did the chicken cross the road?” He turns away and starts up Little John to move Chanticleer yet again. Soon they are both down near a curve in our road. I walk down to investigate, and it’s immediately clear that this big rooster is eyeing the road. Jed and I both start laughing and nodding. “Yep, this is where he belongs.”
Later that evening, after a glass of wine on the front porch, Jed nods toward Chanticleer and says “I like that rooster.” I smile and add “Me too.”