Lessons About Life I Learned From A Banter Hen - By Dr. Christos Kioni
As Easter approaches we see candy chicks for sale and associate them with the season of renewal. It reminds me of an event that shaped my life at a very young age. The very first lesson about being knocked down I learned as a crippled child wearing a steel leg brace.
I was 6 years old. Ms. Kate who's tenement house was across the street from the bar, sent me to the store behind her house with 25 cents to buy cigarettes. I was a mischievous little boy and was nicknamed "Rough-House" by the bar patrons. I was always tearing radios and televisions apart and would reassemble them perfectly. I'd take a claw hammer and remove the wooden molding around the door frames and then attempt to re-attach them like I saw carpenters do. Needless to say, Pearlie Mae wore my ass out about tearing up stuff LOL!
Ms. Kate had a Banter Hen that had several newly hatched baby chicks nesting under her wood frame house and BBQ joint. For several days I had been trying to catch a chick to keep as a pet. The relationship between the mama hen and me was not friendly to say the least. As I was traversing the discarded beer cans and whiskey bottles strewn about the alley on the side of Ms. Kates house, the mama Banter Hen ambushed me! That tiny red ball of feathers came out from under the house unannounced and took flight, flying directly toward my face, claws extended.
The force of the furious hen's attack knocked me backwards, and my legs not being strong, I fell to the sandy Florida ground landing flat on my back, legs high in the air, arms flailing. That red hen was hotter than a ten alarm fire and she clawed at my face with her talons, cackling up a storm as her baby chicks peeked out from beneath the house at my ass whooping. Everyone around the bar was very protective of me. As I screamed in terror, patrons and boarders came running across the street into the narrow alley on the side of the house toward the direction of my frantic cries.
Shooing the enraged devil colored mama hen away, strong gentle hands picked me up out of the dry, dusty sand. I looked up through hot tears to see Ms. Kate and Pearlie Mae. "Rough-House, what happened to you?" Ms. Kate asked. Ms. Kate was examining my pretty brown scratched up face, wiping my tears with her dirty white, food stained apron. I replied in a heart breaking voice "Ms. Kate, the Banna hen knocked me down, but she didn't take the money!" In my clutched right hand covered with fresh bleeding scars; the money was clenched tight. The bar patrons broke out into drunken laugher and good natured teasing followed. For decades afterwards until her death, Pearlie Mae would tease me about my retort to the hen's attack. "She knocked me down, but she didn't take the money!" That little red hen taught me to respect her and her babies, but also I learned to hold onto that which is valuable and not let go even when I fail and fall. Your dreams to be the best, to become the greatest are more valuable than all the gold in the world! Don't give up on them.
The moral of of this life story is: "Just because you're flat on your back doesn't mean you got to give it up." If life knocks you down, hold on to your dreams. Hold on to your vision. Maintain your integrity and core values, but never surrender your dreams. With this attitude, you can never be defeated and you will always be successful.
Dr. Christos Kioni