Friday, August 5, 2011
Four Dead Chicks
It's almost too raw to tell you right now, but I thought I'd try before I loose the courage. Yesterday I looked at my recent work and a lot of it was warped. After looking at all that hand painted slip work, I initially wondered why I keep making work, what's the point. But then I saw it was the type of foam support I had used which kept the clay wetter in the center and allowed the sides to dry sooner. Another type of foam I used worked better.
Next thing I noticed a huge oak on the neighboring property has suddenly died. It is hanging precariously with a severe lean over our mail box, driveway, and front entrance pillars with lights. Kind of sad a big oak tree dying, but we've had less than normal rainfall and higher heat this season. I decided I needed to mail a letter to the lot owner next door to ask them to have the tree removed. With the potential of storms I wanted to notify the owners to have the tree cut down right away before it damages our pillars which we can little afford to fix if they break.
Later I went to the post office to mail the letter. As I walked up to the counter at the post office I heard baby birds chirping very loudly and I couldn't figure it out. Their chirps echoed all over the post office and I wondered where they were coming from. I asked the postmaster thinking there was a bird's nest on the roof, such as a sparrows nest. But I knew this wasn't the time of year for a bird's nest to be full of babies, it's much too hot now. And in the back of my mind I knew the sound of those chirps were distress calls, and they were calling to me.
The postmaster informed me that they were baby chicks chirping. I said, chickens? He said yes they were shipped through the mail from Iowa and it was legal. I was slightly dumb struck that baby chicks can legally be shipped through the mail especially this time of year and that they were sitting in the post office. Then came the clincher. He said he had called the people who had ordered the chicks two days ago and they still hadn't come to get the chicks. In the back of my mind I counted the two days to be shipped and two days sitting in the post office and I was in shock. Baby chickens without food or water for four days and they were still chirping.
I was in such shock that I walked away and came back and reiterated our conversation with the postal clerk because I just couldn't believe it. But it was true and I walked out to my car and started crying. Crying about the poor helpless baby chicks sitting in a box at the post office with no one caring for them. It being a post office and federal building, I felt helpless to do anything. I cried all the way home and when I got there around noon I called two different Humane Society offices and left messages and then I called the PETA national office in Virginia and left a message. I just wasn't thinking clearly about what to do.
A short while later the PETA office in Virginia called me and said they were investigating with the post office. Finally they called me again and said they were having the sheriff go out to to the post office and that the Humane Society didn't had jurisdiction over the post office. Thanks to PETA. Previously I had told them I'd go back to the post office at 4 pm to see if the chicks were still at the post office. I couldn't do a thing all day long and knew for sure I wouldn't be able to sleep that night thinking about those poor baby chicks. When I went back to the post office at 4 pm a different postal clerk said the chicks had been delivered to the people who had ordered them. The clerk was rather vague and wouldn't look me in the eye. When I got home I called the PETA offices and I told them the chicks were delivered and I asked if they'd call me back when they got the final report.
Finally PETA called me and told me the people who had ordered the chicks had gotten the chicks delivered and out of ten chicks ordered, there were four dead chicks. I'm still shaking my head that no one thought to help the baby chickens caged with no food and water at the post office till I came along and asked about them. A life is a life even if it's only a baby chicken. As soon as I'm feeling better I'll make a piece in clay to commemorate those poor baby chickens.