Ode to Olivia, an Easter chick

Published 7:42 pm Friday, April 7, 2023

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Back when children believed in the Easter bunny, for two nights only every little one that went to the drive-in picture show in Troy could pick out a baby chick to take home.

These weren’t ordinary baby chicks that hens hatched out of eggs. These were baby chicks that the Easter Bunny brought. And, they weren’t little yellow chicks. The Easter Bunny had colored them pink, green and blue. Just like Easter eggs. 

I had to have one. I begged please can I have an Easter chick? Please! Bubba wants one, too.”

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Mama said we didn’t need any baby chicks but Daddy didn’t hear her. So, on Friday night before Easter, we loaded up in our Hudson automobile that looked like a bloated frog and we went to the drive-in picture show.

At intermission, we went down to the snack bar and got in the long line.

It was an amazing sight — all those little peeping, colored biddies in boxes. I got knots in my stomach thinking that all the little chicks would be gone before it was my turn.

I wanted a blue chick because they were the prettiest color but Mama said little boys got blue. Little girls got pink or green but a green chick would get lost in the weeds. So, I picked out the pinkest chick I could find and Bubba got a blue one.

They put our chicks in a little box. On the way home, I took mine out and held it up close to my face. It was so warm and soft and fuzzy. I loved it already.

Daddy said if you handled baby chicks a lot they would die. So not to play around with it.

Mama thought Pinkie and Blue Boy would be good names for our chicks. That was an okay name for Bubba’s chick but I wanted to name mine Calamity Jane. I’d seen her at the picture show and she was rowdy.  But my pink chick wasn’t rowdy. She was soft and cuddly. I named her Olivia.

We kept our chicks in a box with a light bulb on them so they would think it was their warm mama. We put newspapers in the bottom of the box for their biddy business.

But Olivia and Blue Boy didn’t stay soft and fuzzy long. They grew long, stiff, dingy white feathers

We kept them in a pen at night but, in the daytime, they scratched and pecked around in the yard. Sometimes Olivia would let me hold her but then she would peck me to let her go. I still loved her though.

In the summer, we went to visit Aunt Eleanor for a week. When we got home, Blue Boy and Olivia weren’t pecking around the yard.

“Here, chick, chick!” They didn’t come. I looked everywhere but all I ever found was a few white feathers with blue and pink tips. That was all that was left of my beloved Olivia.