Tuesday, March 01, 2005

The genetic chicken aesthetic

My mother was delighted when she discovered she might like to decorate her kitchen a certain way - namely, with chickens, all country-like. Once her friends and relatives were informed, the chickens poured in ad nauseam, for birthdays and Christmas, in the form of notepads, fridge magnets, snowstorms, tea cosies, mugs, you name it. We swam in chickens for years.

Before her death, Mom had the collection pretty much pared down to what chickens she could stand. You know what? I have kept every single one; not because I care to enshrine her memory with these chickens, but because I like the damn things. I actually applauded her choice when she made it. Chickens made sense. I have bought more chickens since her death - a serving tray on our honeymoon and a porcelain one at a house-fluffer show this fall, not to mention a two-dollar rooster canister at Wal-Mart. I faithfully glue any chicken fridge magnet that gets knocked to the ground and loses its beak or a leg; I rescued a useless decorative chicken muffin tin from our old house last spring.

After her funeral her brother, my uncle Dave from B.C., asked if he might take home a trinket to remember her by. More specifically, he asked for a chicken. I cheerfully handed him a trio of ugly chicken figurines - one for each sibling - and he made off happily with them. Thank God she didn't like talking teddy bears or some such shite, or I'd be in therapy. But yes. Chickens. My kids will love them, or else.

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