Today as I chased Henrietta around my yard for about the zillionth time, I realized that I have created the perfect chicken trap. I was sure I had sealed all the entrances through the fence, but Henrietta and a select group of friends keep finding their way inside. The problem is that they won’t find their way back out. So I huffed and puffed and circled behind the chickens trying to force them to escape via their secret path. But, they just waddled ahead of me, necks stretched out, refusing to lead me to their hidden hole. Finally, I gave in and opened the gate, chasing them back to the barnyard. The chicken eating dog tried to help me, but when I caught him hauling one of the biddies around, I hollered and he dropped her. Unperturbed, she strolled about the yard before finally climbing the steps to join the dog on my front porch.
My other activity today was sitting in a chair, taking money from tourists who came to sample pancakes, syrup and mountain hospitality. I am always amazed that anyone would want to travel twenty winding miles over the mountains to stand in line for an hour or two so they could eat a meal easily prepared in the comfort of their own kitchens. But, so many people told me that this is a yearly tradition for them. Many folks told me that they had come to all four days of the festival. So I started watching these families and friends as they were standing and waiting to be served. I realized that syrup is only part of the reason they make the annual pilgrimage. They were all laughing and telling stories both to their own friends and to new ones they’d made while they waited. The Maple Festival is the first excuse of spring to take time away from the cares of daily living. Standing in line is not a chore, but a time of forced inactivity where the only thing to do is to talk to and enjoy each other. I did not see any cell phones (no cell service here) or IPods plugged into ears or kids watching video on IPads. What I did see was a lot of old fashioned fellowshipping and socializing.
Perhaps the chickens and I could learn to spend some happy time together as well. I think I’ll take a lesson from the patient tourists and rather than working myself up, I'll invite the next chicken that climbs up on the porch, to set a spell (that pun was for you, Dad). Hope you'll join us.