Every family has its quirky traditions and inside jokes. My family is lucky enough that I put them in print. (You’re welcome).
So, let me tell you the story about the chicken: My mother has a whittled wooden chicken she bought at a craft show that has lived in the bathroom for years. It’s four inches tall with a small oval base and is painted minimally. My brothers and I discovered that Mom hated it when that chicken faced the door – she said it seemed like it was looking at her. Of course, from that moment on, whenever my middle brother or I were home, we moved the chicken.
We started out just making sure the chicken faced the door at every given opportunity, but then the game evolved and the chicken began traveling from room to room. He might surprise you from a shelf in the refrigerator, take a nap under your pillow or he might appear on Mom’s dresser and stare at her when she tried to get tucked in for the night. It went back and forth, between sides.
When my husband got in on the joke, he placed the chicken in such a good hiding spot that Mom didn’t find him for weeks – and my husband forgot where he hid him. One day while Mom getting something from the pantry she found the chicken peering through the plastic of a giant tub of cheese balls. She removed his blond body only to find that he had turned completely orange due to the cheesy dust – luckily he came clean again. Many other guests have gotten in on this game of hide and seek, but no one has topped the cheese ball hiding spot.
Imagine my surprise while shopping one afternoon at a downtown Fargo antique store, when I spotted a miniature version of the same chicken. It stood only two inches tall, but all of the other characteristics were about the same.
I started forming my plan on the way to the counter to buy Mini Chicken. This would be epic.
I learned patience with pranks at a young age, through trial and error. For years my guilty or giggling face would give away the joke and ruin the pay off. No, this time I would play it cool.
On my next trip to my parents’ home I waited for just the right moment to carry out my plan. The grandfather clock struck Midnight and a faint sound of snoring began somewhere on the first floor. Under the cloak of night, I tiptoed into the bathroom and I switched the chickens, leaving the miniature version in its place.
The next morning, we all came to breakfast and no one said a word about the chicken. This was taking longer than I thought. I continued to watch and wait until I heard my mother walk into the bathroom and close the door. From the kitchen I heard a loud scream, followed by the door flying open and her marching across the house, “Somebody shrunk my chicken!” she shrieked in disbelief.
Perfect. That’s exactly what I was going for.
While I continue to giggle at my accomplishment, I know that someday when I least expect it, I will be paid back.