In search of ponies: A lot to chirp about

Sharna Johnson

While I was waiting for my turn at the feed store counter, I couldn’t help but notice three large bins with heat lamps over top and the rabble of dozens of tweeting babies.

Of course (as if there were any doubt) I stooped down to check the little fellows out and was amused when they all rushed toward my hand with a frenzy of high-pitched chirps.

And yes, I picked one up, completely suckered by the adorable little eyes and fuzzy perfection in my hand.

But what surprised me was when I stood and saw the sign on the bin read “Turkeys.”

Now no offense to turkeys intended, but they are some ugly birds, probably one of the reasons they get all that dressing on the holidays.

The whole thing reminded me of what my boss in high school used tell me when I complained abut the state of junkers I had to detail before they were put on the sale lot at the car dealership where I worked.

“… Just polish the chrome and they won’t notice the rest of the car Sharna.”

But I’m no fool, I know that turkeys aren’t that darn cute.

And I said as much when I got to the counter.

“I had no idea baby turkeys were so cute,” I told the lady who was helping me. “Why is it everything is so cute when it’s little?”

She agreed — everything is cute when it’s little. The problem is things have a habit of growing up, and let’s not forget those horrible in-between phases.

I am of the opinion it’s a carefully designed ploy by Mother Nature to give creatures a better chance at survival during their most vulnerable time.

Think about it. If, on the blessed day you became a parent, the doctor came into your hospital room and handed you a glaring teenager dressed in all black with chain-saw sounds coming out of headphones permanently attached to his or her ears, would you really take it home with you?

Yeah, I didn’t think so…

So instead you get this doe-eyed little bundle of rosy cheeks and teeny little hands that goos and giggles when you pet it — enticing you to take it home and keep it.

Yep, nature just polished the chrome, because by the time you realize you’ve been had, you’re already on the hook in a big way.

I remember when I was little we would go in the feed store this time of year and there would be the seasonal bins and bins of baby chicks, ducklings and goslings. Only in the interest of taking their cuteness one step further and making them even more irresistible, they had been dyed in a rainbow of pastels — Now that’s not fair… at least give me a fighting chance to get out of the store.

At a whopping 25 cents a piece in those days, even my dad fell for it, buying my brother and I pink and blue baby ducks that got permanently shooed to the pond in the yard the first time he caught us taking baths with them.

They used to do the same thing with bunnies, and yes, we had those too.

But the dye always wore off —just like I’m sure the chrome grew dull shortly after the customers got home, right about the time the puddle of oil in the driveway became obvious.

Ah, if only life came with a reverse gear…

As I discussed this column with coworkers, talk turned to how the adorable little tweet-tweet-cheep-cheep’s start to grow old after a while.

One woman, who worked in a farm supply store, said she hated chick-season because after a full shift beside the tub of babies, she would go home and continue hearing them all night, even startling awake because she heard chicks chirping in her sleep.

Another woman recalled having chicks at home growing up and after a couple of days of chirping from the backyard, thinking, “You were cute two days ago … Shut-up!”

Yep, I have little doubt if youngin’s weren’t so darn cute, they would never survive their early years.

So I give a hats off to Mother Nature … Good job, those chicks sure are adorable. Way to polish that chrome Lady!