| January/February 1977

R. R. 2, Brandon, Wisconsin 53919

'Mae!' A short pause. 'Mae!' The voice was insistently determined. I turned reluctantly toward the call, then answered.

'Yes Mother. I'm coming.'

Why they always had to interrupt my preaching to the chickens was an unanswerable question. My chickens may have been a sleepy congregation but at least they had sense enough to go slowly on a hot day. They stretched their legs contentedly into the powdered earth.

'Mae,' the voice came again, 'don't forget to feed the hens at five o'clock.' OH JOY! THAT WAS ALL? Don't forget to feed the hens? I WAS feeding the hens -- spiritual food --, and I could now proceed for at least another half hour. That would leave time enough for the physical.

Perhaps it was a strange pulpit I was using - fence posts neatly crisscrossed for drying. The pile was at least six feet high. It seemed to be a yearly addition to our dooryard. The hens loved to dust themselves in the shadow they provided and many had now expertly wriggled their plump bodies into their individually preferred excavations.