The Suitcase Lady


June 17, 2008, 11:33 pm

The hot item on President Bush’s European trip last week was the chicken washing issue. The European Union is in a flap about our method of washing chickens (dead ones, I presume) in chemicals. This news item instantly brought back happy memories for me.

One of my favorite jobs was being the “Children’s Programmer” for a library. I got to create or choose all the programs for the kids. Without a doubt, the best and most popular program I ever dreamed up was the chicken washing program.

At that time my friend, Donna, was the poultry Superintendent for the Wisconsin State Fair. She was on a one woman crusade to educate urban children that the fair was more than the midway and endless junk food.

One day Donna was telling me how the 4H kids get their chickens ready for the prize judging, when, presto, an idea clicked in my brain. Why not invite the 4H kids to the library to do a summer program on how they groomed their animals for the fair?

I might note that for space reasons we did all our library programs in the City Hall basement. The looks on the aldermen’s faces were priceless when the chickens began arriving at city hall with their proud owners, water buckets, shampoo and blow driers.

The 4H kids were true pros at chicken wrangling. Our kids were mightily impressed with the knowledge and poise of their country counterparts. A few of our city kids even realized that there were interesting worlds they knew nothing about. And, we got through the entire afternoon with no wayward chickens ending up in the Council Chamber… at least, none of the avian variety.

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