HAVING SERVED PROUDLY in the US Army, I find myself often asked about basic training – that initial period of indoctrination into the military. For myself, it was eight weeks at Fort Jackson, SC (The Palmetto State).
THERE ARE MANY CHORES that befall a man when he owns a house. Lawn care is traditional in this regard; there are few men who pass up the chance to wander the yard in the company of the lawnmower. In the summer, this task must be performed every two weeks or thereabouts, and it adds still more order to an otherwise well regimented existence. All men know the true meaning of a quietly rhetorical question about the state of the lawn. It means you need to hop to it, man!
And then, in the spring, I saw him. Standing in the clearing, with the shadowy forms of his flock behind him, he was revealed to me in his glory. The Feral Chicken of Clayton. A majestic bird – white and lean, and as proud a posture as Frank Purdue could ever produce.
“Within every man’s brain, there is a system of alarms that are designed to go off in any situation that would place the man in danger. When you walk on railroad tracks, it tells you, “Get off the tracks.” When your neighbor’s pretty young wife locks herself out of her apartment in her underwear, and comes to your apartment, asking to use your phone, the alarm goes off, telling you, “This looks bad.” (you let her in, of course, because a bigger part of your brain says ‘This looks very good’)”