#48. Ever hear of NFTs? Me either until one sold for 69 million! Same with chicken raising: I never heard of backyard chickens and now everyone is raising them!

by storytellerisabel

NFTs stands for Non fungible Tokens—something that cannot be traded or exchanged. For example, recently “Beebles” had his digital collage auctioned by Christy’s for 69 million. The collage is a token and it’s nonfungible because it will NOT hang on someone’s wall, but instead is digitally “possessed.” But it’s NOT like how I once “possessed” Pokemon cards and traded them at recess. There was a real dust-up when some kids decided they wanted their cards back. Probably their parents had bought them expensive collector cards; perhaps a $1000 PSA 10 1st Edition CHARIZARD; I got mine at Dollar Tree. So when their kids came home with cheap old regular Pokémons instead of the oolala cards, the parents were furious. They had to come and separate the cards and the principal banned trading. When I told Mom and Dad about the dust-up they called this “hover-parenting.” So that’s an example of trading and exchanging, well, I guess, give-backing also. But with Mr Beebles’ collage it’s a one of a kind only viewable by the possessor. Since this record-breaking auction occurred I’ve read about other NFTs: NBA Top Shot auctioned a video clip of my hero LeBron James for $208,000!

But enough already with the NFTs—this is all towards my point that before starting the chicken project I never ever heard about chicken raising by regular people, just like I’d never heard of NFTs. (I do love juxtaposing. It’s in my genes.)

Chickens are everywhere: Two streets over from us the neighbors at one end share their rooster with the neighbors at the other end. The rooster struts down the street from one coop to the other. (I wonder if this cuts down on the amount of cockadoodledoo-ing?) Sam and Clyde’s Miss Honey is going to hatch chickens in their classroom. By that I mean, she’s getting fertilized eggs from a farm and placing them in an incubator until they hatch. (I hope they ALL hatch; Sam and Clyde don’t need any more death.) A lonely Israeli zoo monkey has adopted a chicken. Our public library display case this month features chicken-themed books: Chicken in Space (see companion books: Chicken in School, Chicken in Mittens, and Chicken on Vacation); The Chicken-Chasing Queen of Lamar County; Cinders: A Chicken Cinderella; Tillie Lays an Egg; Little Chick (a finger-puppet book), and Chicken Big (a twist on Chicken Little, hysterical).

Finally I’ve stumbled into the main topic of this chapter, albeit at a slant and through the transom of the back door. (Mr Grim asked us to use the word “albeit” at least once between close of school today and tomorrow.)

The Topic: Death in books.

Before Mom and Dad died I’d read many books where the protagonist’s parents have died. (It’s a natural result of just reading a lot; some books have death in them.) But before Mom and Dad were killed I was removed from the agony in these books, meaning I didn’t identify with the central issue of being an orphan. What books you say? The entire Harry Potter series, The Secret Garden, The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise, just to name a few.

Coyote lives in old school bus with her dad, Rodeo. They drive around the country fleeing grief: five years ago, Coyote’s mother and two sisters were killed in a car crash. Then Coyote learns that the Washington park where she and her mom and sisters buried their memory box is going to be demolished; so, she tricks Rodeo into driving the 3600 miles back to Washington in 4 days. They accumulate a motley crew of travelers who become friends: a musician, a boy and his mom, a gay teen on the run. First time I read it I thought: classic road-trip tale. I fixed on Coyote not having to go to school and how they drove all around the country, seeing new places. I thought Cool, Coyote and Rodeo left their old names behind to help them get on with it. Good idea. Coyote and I both read read read. Her favorite book was The One and Only Ivan—mine too, well, until, the next favorite book! I loved it.

I saw Coyote on my bookshelf the other day and re-read it. I’m a different species, post Mom and Dad. I reread certain pages and chapters, as if I was taking a course on how to deal with grief: I paid much more attention to Coyote and her trick to get her dad to head home; to the dear host of travelers who join them and who turn into family; to the big-heartedness of them all; to their struggles to see other people’s perspectives; to the many kindnesses. I kept better track of each glimmer of hope. Especially I noticed that even though Coyote and Rodeo were broken-hearted, they didn’t run from one another. It was like I was watching another version of myself figure out how to push away from that steaming bowl of sadness.

The court caper, the chickens, Oliver, Mimi and Pop, Zia, Arturo, Ye Olde Coffee Shoppe, even Sir Isaac may be in the same category as Coyote’s road trip. I’ll keep track of this idea.

Isabel Scheherazade