(In case you missed them, here are chapters one and two.)
When lunchtime came and they were all sitting at the table, Ashley looked at Mother and asked, “Mother, why are our chickens special?”
Mother smiled, “They are special to me because they remind me of the chickens my grandmother had when I was a little girl,” she said.
“Not because they’re pretty?”
“No Sweetheart, not because they’re pretty. They are pretty, and the colored eggs are fun, but that’s not what makes them special.”
“So, is Spot special too?” asked Ashley.
“She was special to Miss Hazel,” said Mother, “and because I love Miss Hazel, that makes Spot special to me too.”
“Even if she’s not pretty?” asked Ashley doubtfully.
“Even if she’s not pretty,” agreed Mother. “You know, it’s not a good idea to like something or not like something because of the outside. Or someone,” added Mother.
“You mean Macy Adams?” asked Ashley slowly.
“Yes, Macy Adams,” said Mother.
“But I don’t like Macy Adams because she wouldn’t talk to me, not because of her outsides,” protested Ashley.
“Ashley,” said Mother softly, “You don’t know Macy well enough yet to know what she’s like on the inside.”
“So,” said Ashley doubtfully, “I wasn’t being fair to Macy Adams or to Spot?”
“I’m sure they will both forgive you,” laughed Mother as she gave Ashley a big hug and left the kitchen.
But Ashley, still in her chair at the table, wasn’t convinced.
Later that afternoon, Mother brought Mrs. Adams and Macy into the kitchen where the children were just finishing up a snack.
“Ashley,” said Mother, “why don’t you take Macy and show her around the farm?”
Ashley slowly got up and with a heavy sigh, led stuck-up Macy Adams back outside.
“What do you want to see first?” asked Ashley, reluctantly
“Could I see your pretty chickens that you told me about?” replied Macy softly.
“You didn’t act like you cared about the chickens when I told you about them the other day at your house,” said Ashley.
“Oh I did care, I really did! They sounded just beautiful! But there were so many people there, I couldn’t say anything,” she finished sadly.
“Why does it matter how many people are around?” said Ashley, curiously.
“It’s hard for me to talk to people. Especially new people. Especially lots of new people. I’m scared that I’ll say something wrong and they won’t like me. So, I just don’t say anything,” said Macy looking down at the ground. She wiggled her toes in her sandals and sighed. “My mother says I need to talk more,” she finished glumly.
“My mother says I need to talk less,” said Ashley, and giggled.
Then Macy giggled. Then Ashley laughed. Then Macy laughed. And before she knew quite what had happened, Ashley and no-longer-stuck-up-Macy Adams were friends.
“Come on,” Ashley said, grabbing Macy’s hand, “let’s go see the chickens! Then I’ll take you to our tree fort!”
And off they went, hand in hand.
About ten minutes later Jeremiah wandered into the kitchen where Mother and Mrs. Adams were visiting over a pot of tea at the kitchen table.
“I thought you were playing with the girls,” Mother said.
“I was,” he said with a sigh, “But two bossy princesses is too much!” And shaking his head, he went into the living room to play with his army men.
Some time later Ashley and Macy came in to the kitchen, chattering away like magpies.
“What’s all the excitement about,” asked Mrs. Adams.
“Mother,” said Ashley, “May I take Macy to the chicken house to look for eggs? And then can she take the shells home to put in her room like I did in mine?”
“I think that’s a wonderful idea!” said Mother.
So Ashley quickly got the egg basket and the girls happily ran off to the chicken house. When they got back, Ashley taught Macy how to blow the raw eggs out of the shells by pricking holes in the ends and blowing through them. Ashley even blew out one of Spot’s eggs to add to her collection. Mother carefully rinsed out the empty eggs shells and left them on the counter to dry. Then she took the eggs that were left and mixed up the filling for her famous Ham and Mushroom Quiche.
As the wonderful aroma of the baking quiche filled the house, the children happily set the table for dinner. When Mother finally took the golden quiche out of the oven, everyone gathered eagerly around the table. Mother said grace and then served a generous slice to each one along with a fresh, crisp salad fresh from the garden, and a big glass of ice cold milk.
“This is delicious!” exclaimed Mrs. Adams after the very first bite.
“Even better than usual,” agreed Jeremiah with his mouth full.
“Must be because of Spot’s egg,” giggled Macy.
“Spot? Who is Spot?” asked Mrs. Adams.
With much giggling the children told Mrs. Adams about Spot the Spy Chicken.
“That just goes to show,” said Mrs. Adams, “You should never judge…”
“…a chicken by its feathers!” finished Jeremiah, and everyone laughed.