After the haircut, the plan for Julia and me was to head to my parents' house to show them the new 'do and then go home. I called Mom and said we'd be stopping by with a surprise, and then Meredith walked outside with Julia and me as we headed for the car.
Joan, my sister's neighbor (who we'd chatted with about Locks of Love before Julia's haircut), was outside, and Julia bee-lined in her direction and was around the fence that divides my sister's and Joan's properties. Mere and I followed.
All of a sudden Julia came tearing back around the fence, wailing and crying and incoherent. She headed straight for me and I managed to make out "It's chasing me!"
Legs is Joan's chicken. She's not even a year old. Apparently someone found a chick and Joan adopted it. No one knew what kind of bird Legs was at first – maybe a wild turkey, no one knew. Turns out she's a very pretty chicken.
And she's very interested in other creatures. So all she wanted to do was say hello and check Julia out, but Julia's not used to feathered creatures trotting toward her.
Joan put Legs back in the yard and came back with one of her dogs, Casselina (I'm sure I'm goofing the name up – please correct me Joan or Mere!), a Portuguese Water Dog.
Joan had asked if she could take a picture of Julia with Cassie in her uniform. Joan brings her to schools and hospitals and places like that, and she wanted a picture Julia sitting there with the dog, reading to her.
That was no problem with Julia. She LOVES dogs.
You'll notice the dog is staring directly behind where I'm standing. Joan was off to the side trying to get her attention, but no dice. We all turned to see what she was staring at…
It was Tulip. My sister's crazy homicidal cat. I guess she was trying to stare down the dog. She's like that. I think Mere chased Tulip away so Joan could get on with the picture-taking.
Julia heard Joan's other dogs barking from inside the house, and of course she wanted to meet them.
And after that?
Time to face the chicken.
Julia was both terrified and fascinated, I think, and fascination was edging ahead. She wanted to see the chicken again, but she didn't want the chicken to come running at her. Legs was fenced inside Joan's back yard, so Julia must have felt relatively safe.
Joan gave Julia a grape to feed to Legs. Mere and I tried to be encouraging.
The first time around, Julia threw the grape through the fence.
After more cajoling, she crept closer and held out the grape.
I think she ended up dropping that one when Legs got close. But it was still progress.
Gradually Joan helped Julia become comfortable with Legs.
And after all that, Julia wasn't as frightened.
"You have a lovely chicken," she told Joan.
Julia picked grass to feed to Legs through the fence (Julia still preferred the fence between them)…
"C'm'ere, boy. Come on, big guy…" (Julia pronounced it "gah instead of "guy." I don't know where she gets this.) (Oh, yeah, and Julia? It's a GIRL chicken.)
Julia even found a tiny slug for her new friend.
She put it on the low cross-piece of the fence and Legs snapped it right up.
We had to get going, though, so one last snip from Auntie's scissors and we were on our way.
We stopped by my parents' house briefly so they could see the transformation. My mother loved it and my father – true to form – pretended he didn't recognize Julia. Hugs and high-fives and a couple mini-donuts for Julia and we pulled out of the driveway, waving goodbye.
Julia was out when I stopped the car in our driveway, half an hour later.