I just got off of the phone with her and apart from suffering from a slight case of cabin fever, she sounds fine. Whew! Such a relief! Lori is one of those friends that, even though we don’t see each other as much as we’d like to…my mind is eased just knowing I can pick up the phone and call her. And she is definitely on my call-down list, which right now looks something like this:
Consoling glass of wine: Jennifer
Hiding a dead body (allegedly): Annette
Ranting about the knuckle-headed teenager daughter and/or whoople-headed teen-aged boy de jour: Leslie
Planning a get away (possibly after hiding a dead body): Belinda W
The truth, even if unpleasant: Jacquie
Talking me down off the ledge: Lori
International affairs (potential political asylum): Canadian Nancy
Hmmm…laying it out like that, maybe I should move her to the top…or at least before the (allegedly) dead body. A-hem. ANYWAY…
Note: I did not make any of this up.
The director of our church's preschool department, for reasons no one is really sure of, decided that a fun outing for the tots would be a trip to the Tyson chicken hatchery. I'm sure that she was only thinking of the joy and delight the kids would get out of getting to see all of the little chicks and thought very little of the thing that always accompanies chickens, namely chicken poop and its smell. So anyway, Lori takes Jack, age 3 who is in the preschool department and her oldest son, Alex, age 7 to this little field trip. The parents were encouraged to bring all of their kids, so she did. Now, for a little background, Alex and Jack are just flat diametrically opposed. Alex is very quiet (but smart) and introverted until you get to know him. Jack, who is also smart is just a little wild thing, not in a bad way or anything, but he doesn't mind being the center of attention.
Anyway, they get to Tyson & go into the lobby where they're met by the little tour group leader person. He gives a little spiel about what goes on at the hatchery and how they have 20 hens per rooster, making the rooster “extremely happy, but very tired.” (Yes, he said this to a CHURCH preschool group.) Don't you know all of the little Sunday school children had questions about THAT on the way home? Anyway, they then proceed into the hatchery. Lori said that she was near the front and that when the Tyson guy opened the door the SMELL was just like a slap in the face with a wet, dead squirrel. At this point, the adults and kids alike are given little plastic boot baggies to put over their shoes so that they don't track in germs or whatever into the hatchery. They move past the area where the laying hens and the lucky, lucky roosters are kept and head for the incubating area.
Lori said that as they hit this area (which is now HOT and SMELLY) she notices that workers are putting the freshly produced eggs into the ChickenMaster 109. This is not a joke. You can go to Google it and see for yourself that it really exists. (Or it did…by now I’m sure the Chickmaster 109 is woefully obsolete) We looked it up. Anyway, as Lori is trying to get over her awe of being in the presence of a real live ChickenMaster 109 (she said that she was looking frantically around for someone who would GET just how funny the name ChickenMaster 109 was) she starts hearing murmurs from the back of the group that one of the kids has gotten sick. Of course the Chicken-man tour guide says something like, "Yep, happens every time."
Photographic proof of the existence of the ChickMaster
At this point, you just have to ask that if, in fact, some poor little preschooler throws up every time, why do they continue to invite groups of preschool kids to their plant? Of course, no one asks this question. As a matter of fact, logical thought goes out the window for everyone as another lady from our church cuts through the crowd. In one hand, she's got her 4-year-old's hand, trying to get him out of there before things go from bad to worse. In the other hand she's got one of the baggies off of her shoe displaying evidence of her son's recent misfortune. So, as she's making her way through the throng, Lori says to Alex (he has a very low tolerance for this sort of thing) "Don't look!" Which, as any parent knows, is a sure-fire way to get them to rubber-neck so fast, there is no way to block them from seeing what you know is going to be a very bad deal.
Alex gets a good eye-full and immediately turns six shades of green. He starts tugging on Lori's hand moaning, "Ugh, I don't feel good. I want to go home." Jack is climbing her other arm, practically vibrating with excitement: "Baby chickens!! baby chickens!! baby chickens!! Baby chickens are next!! I want to see the baby chickens!!"
The only thing that Lori could do at this point was to hand Jack off to the day care director, who is the one who had the idea to bring the kids there in the first place, and hustle Alex back to the lobby, where at least it was cool and un-stinky. Thankfully, Alex does not have an unfortunate incident himself. Once Lori gets him settled, she goes back after Jack, who by this time is in baby chicken heaven. Lori says that they have this huge conveyor with THOUSANDS of little yellow chicks on it just spewing chicks forth and a person standing there who gets a rough count of the chicks and then TOSSES them into little bins from where they are loaded into little chicken buses and taken to chicken houses for raising. (Just how far astray do you have to go in life to end up as a chick counter in a hatchery, by the way?) As Lori gets there, one of the littlest kids backs up against one of the peeping chick bins and falls in. They haul her out of there, but unfortunately, there are now several very sleepy chicks in the bottom of the bin. That's the last straw for the Tyson chicken man. He quickly wraps up the tour and escorts all of the Baptists, both puking and non, as well as their offspring back out into the lobby.