An Easter surprise turned feathered friend


It wasn?t long after Sparky was introduced to the Kelly family that she was quickly removed for her own safety. And now I can say she is safely frolicking in a field with a flock of her winged friends.

I preface this story with that information because what you are about to read might make you think that the Kelly family has it out for poultry, but I can assure you we mean well. With that disclaimer in mind, I shall proceed.

It all started when my sister had an idea ? albeit not a wise idea ? but an idea nonetheless to surprise our nephews, Camden and Cayle on Easter. She went to a local farm store and bought a bright yellow chick. No, not a stuffed chick. A real-life, chirping, breathing chick.

Her idea, while fun for little boys, was not well thought-out. My brother and his wife have no habitat for a chick, no food for one, and no time to care for such an animal. In fact, her gift was not even approved by them before it was revealed to the boys after Easter Sunday lunch. Like I said, not her most thought-out idea.

As you might have guessed, Camden instantly fell in love with the bird and within no time had named her Sparky. Cayle, on the other hand, didn?t really think much of her. However, given Camden?s total excitement over his new friend, his parents didn?t have the heart to tell him that the chick had to go. So, reluctantly, they accepted Sparky into the family unit.

And thus began Sparky?s tumultuous and short-lived stay with the Kelly family.

Within hours of her first Sunday with us, Sparky had already drawn attention from our dog, Brutus, who I am sure was commiserating 100 different ways on how to eat little Sparky with one gulp. After Sparky was let out of her box to roam, it took two full grown men at one point to keep Brutus from having an Easter lunch of him own.

And while Sparky?s chances of survival were much improved after Brutus? prompt removal from her general vicinity, it only took one more incident to make everyone realize we were not cut out for the rearing of a chick.

Two days into her stay, Camden and his mother, Sarah, brought Sparky with them on a visit to my parents? house. Sarah and my mother were busy working on an art project and needed the space of my parents? upstairs work area to get the job done. Once Sparky and Camden were settled downstairs with a cartoon to keep them occupied, Sarah and Mom made their way upstairs to work.

About 20 minutes later, Camden came thumping up the stairs with Sparky cupped in his hands. My mother, not wanting Sparky to make a mess on the upstairs carpet, told Camden to take Sparky downstairs where there was mostly hardwood floors for her to hop around on.

?Why don?t you put Sparky in her house,? my mom prompted Camden, thinking her instructions to put Sparky in the makeshift habitat Trail and Sarah had made for her to sleep in was clear.

Camden agreed and set off back down the stairs. But, about 15 minutes later, Camden came to the foot of the staircase with the sound of trepidation in his voice.

?Uh?Mom? Grandma? You had better come down here,? he called.

?What?s up, bud?? Sarah answered back.

?Um, we have a situation down here,? he replied.

As any parent or grandparent will agree, that is never what you want a five-year-old to say when he is watching a chick unsupervised.

As the adults made their way quickly down the stairs to investigate, Camden said, ?I made her a home, but she doesn?t like it.?

Oh he had made her a home alright.

To Sarah and my mom?s dismay, little Sparky was trapped inside a decorative bird cage on my mother?s dining room table. What was once part of a dainty springtime centerpiece was now Sparky?s very own House of Horror. Now, as you might imagine, this was not your typical, normal-looking bird cage. It had no door, no removable lid and the intricate wire design didn?t leave more than a few inches of space between each wire. In short, it was created for decoration ? not for animal use. To Camden, however, it was a bird cage in need of a bird.

Now, how Camden managed to cram (and I mean cram) Sparky into this thing is beyond all comprehension. And unless Camden has some magical Harry Potter powers we are not yet aware of, that bird had to of had a rough entry into that cage to say the very least.

?Camden! How did you get her in there?!? my mom cried, looking at the chick squawking and trying to escape her tiny prison.

?Grandma, she just jumped in,? Camden replied, almost as if the answer was obvious. ?How should we get her out of there??

How indeed. Well, thanks to Sarah?s quick thinking, and my dad?s wire cutters, we were able to set Sparky free without injury. After that incident, it was clear to everyone that Camden was not yet suited for a chicken. So, a couple days later, Sparky was given to a nearby farmer who wanted a chick to raise.

Was Camden sad to say goodbye to his feathered friend? Yes, unfortunately he was, but it was for the best. In truth, it actually worked out well for everyone in the end. Camden?s parents don?t have to worry about keeping a chick alive and Camden can still go visit her in the evenings and on weekends. As for Sparky, well let?s just say she?s pretty pumped about never seeing the drooling jowls of a hungry Rottweiler, or the inside of a fake bird cage, ever again.