This One’s For You Dad!

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To all the fathers, daddies, daddy-ohs, and pops out there: you never really know which moments will stay imbedded in the heart of your child. It’s amazing how sometimes a memory will resurface and your son/daughter will have an ”aha moment” that brings tears to their eyes (in the best possible way).

Today, I recalled how my dad was a huge fan of a cooperative farm on LI. It was located behind the Old Main Maid Inn and it housed a whole bunch of farm animals who relied on the public for food. There was a pig, a couple of horses and lots of chickens. We went there often with an assortment of food. Apples, carrots, chicken feed and whatever else.

One day, my dad spotted a chicken who was limping. He pointed her out and said ”We have to get her doctored up.” Next thing I know, my dad (all 6’1” of him) is chasing around a hopping chicken who fled for cover underneath a large bush. This did not dissuade him. He crawled under and into the brush and the whole things was shaking like there was an earthquake.

I sat in the car wide-eyed and in complete disbelief. Sure enough, my father emerged with the injured fowl, opened the car door and placed the chicken into my arms. “Here. Hold her. Be firm but gentle.” we drove off in as much of hurry as our giant green station wagon could muster, leaving a trail of gobsmacked folks in our dust.

On the way to the vet, he told me that she is a “Plymouth Rock Chicken” and that she needed a name. I put on my creative hat and said “Mrs. Plymouth”! Clearly, my pet naming skills have improved…but I digress.

The vet gave her a shot and we brought her home where my mother had a hissy fit and my dog went ballistic. We set her up in the basement where she had a dowel where she could perch, fresh water every day and plenty of food.

I’m not sure how long we had her but she did in fact heal and once she was fully recovered, we brought her back to that magical farm and once we released her she bolted right back to underneath the bush where my dad somehow caught her.

This memory hit me like a brick today. I realized that this was my first experience with fostering. It highlights my dad’s compassion for all creatures and critters and it underlines who I am and how one person can indeed make huge impact with ripples that span so far, they’re immeasurable. Well played dad, well played! 👏👏👏

Love you and miss you always! I can feel you smiling at this memory and I can still hear your laugh. Say hello to Mrs. Plymouth for me (and our dog Kaiser!)

Valerie Heffron