Decameron Tales #18: Alternatives to the Rhode Island Red

DECAMERON TALES #18     August 23, 2020

Another gardening day.  Sal is working near the produce stand and I’m some distance away rooting out the poison ivy.  A customer stops for squash and peppers.  She looks familiar and as it turns out she’s the gal who last week gave us some sweet relish as a thank you for our produce.  I was so far distant I couldn’t make out their conversation.  After she left Sal showed me the dozen fresh eggs (additional thank you gift!) that she left.  It seems she has a friend that couldn’t have children so she raises chickens.  (I pondered the equivalency for a moment.)  

Apparently, she treats the chickens as children and plays classical music in the henhouse.  I was excited!  What composers???  Sally and I have been together long enough to glide on the same wavelength, even finishing one another’s sentences.  Alas, occasionally she comes up short.  She didn’t ask.  Do the Rhode Island Reds groove to Borodin?  Do the Leghorns cluck in appreciation to Mozart?  Do the apex hens who lay double-yolkers strut their stuff to Wagner?

When Sal flipped open the carton to reveal our gift, I was in for a surprise.  I assumed that they’d be brown or white.  New Englanders prefer brown eggs from the Rhode Island Reds.  As a child, I assumed that all eggs were naturally brown.  When the first white egg appeared in the white bowl on our counter, I was leery.  These hens must have been very anemic!  They were so pasty looking.  Virtually all of our eggs were purchased from the Peet family across the street.  The family patriarch kept chickens for decades.  I decided to lay the issue of the white eggs to a scion of the Peet family, Arnold.  I was convinced that he knew everything about eggs.  His guidance did not allay my fears.

According to Arnie, Americans eat brown eggs and Communists invariably eat white ones and I should avoid them.  If I didn’t immediately suspect that this was another of his whoppers, I fear I gave in to my unpatriotic stomach.  Standing there looking at the twelve eggs we’d just been given, I wondered what my childhood mentor would make of this menagerie.  There was one brown egg, two white specimens, and a number of in-betweens.  Strikingly, three were a pale shade of green!  And all these years I thought that Dr. Seuss made it all up!  The next breakfast we had green eggs but no ham. (Sal finds it too salty.)  In cooking, the yokes remained more coherent and the taste was stronger.  Was it the color or the music?  More info when available.

Sometimes I believe I’ve been transported to Neverland where The Pan (Mary Martin) promises, every day is packed with adventures.  Our quiet lane of old houses and settled longtime residents is not as uneventful as one might think.  As these eggs prove, every day presents new adventures if you merely look for them.



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