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Brian Fleck

Chicken ship

There’s been trouble in the old hen house. Someone complained to the ACLU (American Chicken Liberties Union) about the Buddhist prayer flags draped in a corner.
Like the much older and more renowned American Civil Liberties Union (also ACLU), both organizations are nonpartisan, non-profit. Both work through litigation, lobbying and community empowerment to achieve their mission: “to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every chicken in this country by the Constitution and the laws of the United States.” Of course in the “civil” version, people are defended.

The big onion

Walkin'

Talked with Mom and Dad on the phone this morning.
The big news of the day was the Cubs. They don’t have cable so they couldn’t watch the series clincher against the Giants, but they did have a radio tuned in until about 10 p.m. That’s bedtime, they observe it pretty closely. It’s a rare evening that finds them staying up past or, even rarer, going to bed early.
We both agreed it’s actually better listening to it on the radio. The television announcers might be talking about what they had for lunch and completely miss describing the triple being played out on the field.

Pearl’s still in our heart

Walkin'

Pearl continues to be a great patient as she rehabs from knee surgery.
At 9, she’s no puppy and her leash-free romps on the farm or at the park may be behind her. But she still loves her walks even if she is tethered.
Pre-injury, I loved to get her amped up before taking her out.
“Wanna walk?” I’d ask.
She’d spark and shoot about like static electricity. Then I’d repeat the question at each step of my routine to get ready. By the time my shoes got slipped on, glasses found, hat donned and sunscreen sprayed, the voltage of her excitement surged to storm level.

One simple rule

Walkin'

When I first mentioned we joined the church across the street, several of our friends were fairly astonished.
I guess this is because I am, by nature, a fairly irreverent person.
I like to drink alcoholic beverages, for example, sometimes to the point of being howling at the moon drunk. I also smoke cigars occasionally and swear frequently. I make up stories about selling pot and amassing fortunes.

The old FSL stink eye

Walkin'

I got especially nervous after we joined the church across thover added an exponential component and she cleaned for two solid weeks.
“Poor Pearl is stuck in her kennel for 10 days,” Sabra said into the phone as I walked into the kitchen.

Would I kid you?

Walkin'

From the outside, I think we look normal enough in our white, two-story house along the highway. We keep the yard mowed, buy Girl Scout cookies, wave to neighbors, walk to church and live a fairly quiet life. I like to run around naked in the yard when there’s a full moon, but I only do that in the early morning hours when everyone else is safely tucked asleep. The low profile worked to my advantage while I raked in the dough from my marijuana growing operation and stacked the hundred dollar bills in the closet.

Coming clean

Walkin'

As I was saying, the final impetus to remove the stack of drug money from my office closet came when we landed the new minister as the guest of honor at a small dinner party and I was afraid Sabra would uncover the stash in a cleaning frenzy.

Lucky numbers

Walkin'

On a quick trip home for Mom’s 89th birthday, Sabra and I stopped at a Subway for lunch.
The sandwich shop is a good fit for us, especially when we’re on the road.
Sabra typically gets a 6-inch chicken or veggie with a few select toppings. It’s agony for both of us, as she goes down the list asking herself if she should or should not add cheese, if so which cheese, onions or no onions, peppers or no peppers, etc. I can feel myself wasting away while she decides between mustard or vinegar as the final dressing.
Me, I got it down to a science.

Summertime in days past

Walkin'

While growing up in the suburbs of Chicago in the late 1950s and early ‘60s, the last place in the world you wanted to be on a hot summer’s day was in the house because there was no air conditioning, much less video games. Besides, if you were around, Mom might find a chore for you.

Up north with Elle King

Walkin'

This week’s column is written in the Dancing Bear Community room of The Lodge of the Whispering Pines on the edge of the Boundary Waters near Ely, Minn.
I have heard some murmurs in the trees, but mostly it’s been the rain that has managed to work its way into camp conversation four of the five days here.

Corrections

Walkin'

I didn’t tell the story exactly right in recent columns.
Sabra joined the bell choir at our church, like I said, and she’s been a rising star, being promoted to two bells in a matter of weeks. She wasn’t demoted, however, because of trouble walking and ringing at the same time. No, the demotion came about because she missed a practice. As a result, she got dropped from third to fourth chair in the four-person ensemble. In turn, that meant she had only one note and one bell to play in the closing number.

Priceless fishing trip

Walkin'

A bonus chance to going fishing with Dad popped up last week, and I grabbed it.
Both brother Bob and I were pleasantly surprised to hear the old man was thinking of picking up his rod and reel again. A couple years ago, a bad case of gout flared up in his hands, making it almost too painful to put on his own clothes much less reel in a Bluegill.
But the gout eventually subsided and Dad let it be known he’d like nothing better than to get out on Bob’s new Lund fishing boat on Father’s Day.
Have I mentioned the boat?