• Mel Jones

Quinn: The Encore

When I was a kid, we’d sing the song there’s a hole in the bucket.

There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza,

There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole.

And I always thought, well that’s stupid. What’s wrong with these people? Why not just buy a new bucket? But no, most of us here are humming that silly old tune these days; because there’s a hole in our bucket! And we’re okay with that. I don’t know the rest of the words to the song. Does Liza fix the bucket? Buy a new one? Why doesn’t the singer fix it himself?

None of that really matters, except that there’s a hole in my bucket.

I was coming in from my car one day last week and Quinn, y’all remember Quinn, right? Quinn was tormenting me. As Quinn always does. I walk swinging my pocketbook from side to side, telling him to back off, or I’ll, I’ll tell him to back off again – or worse hit him with my purse! Yeah!

I made it from my car to the porch, warding him off with my Emilie M bag. I wasn’t happy about this, it’s an expensive bag. It’s my Mary Poppins bag. It stores everything from my wallet, to my kindle, thumb drives, cell phones, Zune, keys, planner, business cards, pens (several colors and styles), to sinus medicine and eye drops, Halls, even individually packaged wipes picked up at Fridays. It’s a heavy sucker, and a good weapon. It’s also purple. So it’s bright and sort of flashy, well to a rooster, it is, I guess. Bright means threatening in the rooster world. Anyway, I got on the porch and there was this bucket—so I kicked it towards him. My neck still hurt and I really wasn’t in the mood to play chicken with the chicken.

Well, Quinn thought this was the best thing since cracked corn! He flared up, chased it, and pounced on it. I stood on the porch, somewhat amazed. Really Quinn? It’s an old white plastic bucket. But okay. He danced around it like a boxer, spurring it now and again. I stared.

He looked at me, expectantly. So, I set my bag down, left the porch (somewhat reluctantly) and kicked the bucket again.

Quinn darted after it. Spurred (he has no spurs, yet, but he pretends). Pounced. Gleefully sparred with it for several minutes. And I thought, this is handy.

Well, okay then. So, Jamie, Ryan, and I have defended ourselves with the bucket. Kick it here, kick it there, kick that old cheap bucket ev’rywhere!

And it was a cheap bucket. Note the past tense. It really is just a tube now. There’s more than a hole in it! The handle was the first casualty, the rim is chipped.  It has no bottom…

There’s a hole in my bucket, dear Liza, a hole.

Who knew? I wonder if Liza’s singing friend had a crazy rooster?

Now, instead of pouncing people, Quinn waits expectantly. You can almost hear him thinking, hut 1, hut 2… He dances from side to side, go ahead, see iffen you can git it by me…

The hens stand on the side lines egging him on (no pun intended). Really. Hens make this clucking sound when one of them is in the process of laying an egg. All the hens join in. It’s a rallying call, you can do it! Push! They’re like cheerleaders.

Quinn eats it up. He’s showing off his prowess. He’s the man. I guess it hasn’t dawned on him, yet, that he is the only male of his species here. The hens cheer when he, you know, catches a bug. Maybe I’ll get him a soccer ball.

First published August 20, 2011.

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