Monday, August 19, 2013

In Memory of Lulu

I have received many heartfelt words and remembrances of Lulu from friends and relatives after I wrote of her passing.  I thank you all for your kindness.

Today I am passing on one such message I recently received.  I received this letter and poems from my friend of many years, Marjorie Bradley from Shellbrook, Saskatchewan.  Lulu and I visited Marj several years ago.  It was a nice fall day so we were able to sit and visit outside and Lulu scratched and fertilized some of the flower beds and plantings in the front yard while we enjoyed the sunny warmth of the day and our friendship.

Marj's letter touched on so many Lulu memories that made me smile.  I am linking the references in the letter to past posts so you can remember with us.  Marj also concluded her letter with an original poem that I'm sure you will agree captures Lulu perfectly. 

Thanks Marj for your permission to share these wonderful thoughts and memories.

Dear Joan,


Missed opportunities.  When you wrote of Lulu's death, I went to my files where I vaguely recalled having started a poem - or Dr. Seuss style story about Lulu.  I see now and remember that it started with your blog about Lulu's tail feathers as well as the flock's moulting.  I never sat down with the discipline to be quiet until the muse came. 

This afternoon, I've been going through my favorite Lulu posts - her affair with the corn flakes guy - her dust bath at your parents' home - her game of hide-and-seek amongst the garlic, the cedar and the rhubarb - her egg laying ritual - her beer breaks with Joan and Barry - her travels to all those larger-than-life roadside monuments.

I thank you for sharing Lulu with the world - and feel privileged that she came to visit in Oct. 2011!  I've told all my best friends about Lulu's antics - yesterday it was my ladies book club at the care home.  They were all intrigued.

I was delighted that you caught the photo at Cochrane with the Beggs' "Legacy" sculpture.  I really think that they would enjoy receiving a photo of Lulu joining their bronze flock!  What a legacy that chicky left in her wake!

Despite the fact that I grew up on a farm with an everchanging flock of chickens, I've learned more about the creatures because of you and Lulu - the changes in the comb, the whole egg laying - or not egg laying drama - and I daresay that you learned not just factual stuff because of Lulu - but of course, all the companionship and affection and challenge of the heart - that you're missing so - right now.

On vacation, before I heard of Lulu's end of life, I'd purchased a book at a museum titled "I am Full Moon", it's a memoir by Lily Hoy Price, who grew up in Quesnel.  I marked the passage from her story Chickens to share with you - and at the time, Lulu - it underlines what you both know. . .

"From a nearby shed, I scooped a tin of wheat kernels from a gunny sack.  The wheat felt cool and slippery under my fingers. 'Come little chickens, come, cluck, cluck, cluck,' I beckoned.  I threw a wide arc of kernels in the air and laughed to see them chickens dance towards the feed.  They pecked at the granules, rummages for insects, cocked their red-comb heads and fluffed iridescent feathers.  I noticed their different personality traits.  Some followed, others led.  Some stood alone.  Others socialized.  Some sought shade from the sun, others burrowed in the ground to keep cool.

"As I played with my feathered friends I was oblivious to the heat.  I completely forgot about the muggy stench of the chicken house.  Rose came running down the path from the store towards the house.  'Hey, don't forget to gather the eggs!' "

Peck!  Peck!  Cr-a-a-a-ck!

She hatched right out of her egg one day
With a spirit that shouted, "Hip, hip, hooray!"
Her feathers fluffed and she learned to peck,
At weeds, at seeds, at an insect speck.
Her peers looked down their beaks at her;
Stat!  Joan planned a Lulu transfer.
Lulu went out in the yard to hide,
She left her nesting box stowed inside.
Then, "An egg is coming!" she sang out loud,
"I'll lay it there, away from the crowd."
Lulu hopped up steps on her gimpy leg,
Turned around, settled in, and laid her egg.
Once more, Lu-hen cackled, loud and true,
"I've laid an egg, that's just what I do!"
Worms and beetles she'd seek in the garden,
Right beside Joan; begging her pardon.
When afternoon yard work stopped, Lulu kept track,
'Cause Lulu knew "Beer?" meant "It's time for a snack!"
Chez pantry, magnificent M'sieu de Corn Flake:
She was his Duck, he was her Drake.
Lu' once claimed the end table, wanting -a snack?
Was put down, but Lulu just hopped right back.
When Barry got vexed, Lu's beak was put out;
She took to her roost for a long, drawn-out pout.
And then, a road trip - off to see Barry,
Remember the dog that was way way too scary?!
They stopped at each town to see all the big things,
But the best was at Cochrane: bronze chickens with wings!

Lulu, dear Lulu!  Your antics we'll miss,
Thanks dearest Chickie, your life spelled out bliss!

Honouring her life with laughter and stories,


  1. Joan and Marj...thank you for sharing this. It sums up a little foot tall life perfectly. In her heart she was huge and perfect, and top of the pecking order. We will miss you Lulu. You lived a huge life. How many little chickens get to make people smile the way you did? Precious few I think.

    1. Thanks Erin. Lulu made friends and converts near and far. It is much too quiet here without her.