A humorous story of a pet I had as a teen and what he did.
| People were used to seeing me with my pet rooster on my shoulder. I raised him from a fuzzy little chick that I won at a carnival. He turned out to be a bantam and his small size made it easy for him to ride on my shoulder, so I took him with me almost everywhere. I loved the way the iridescent feathers of his green tail and wings against his black body shimmered with his cocky walk when he followed me around our yard.
One day Mom asked me to go to the store for milk. It was a chance to wear my new loden green corduroy jacket that my father had sent to me. It was a very popular color in 1953 when I was thirteen. We were what people might call poor, (though I didn't know it until later), and the jacket made me feel a little on the cocky side when I wore it.
With Rooster on my shoulder, I walked across the dusty, weedy lot on the outskirts of Las Vegas where we lived, to the little Mom and Pop grocery store. Rooster nibbled gently on my left ear, talking to me with a soft little cluck down in his throat, like he was quite contented.
As I entered the store people began to grin at me as usual, but some began to look embarrassed. Then they started snickering, and the pride I had when I went into the store kind of fizzled out, despite the jacket. I bought the milk and hurried home.
"Here, Mom," I said, setting the milk on the kitchen table. She turned from the sink and looked at me, her eyes getting wide. Then she, too, started to snicker.
"What, Mom?" She was used to seeing Rooster on my shoulder, too, so I was really puzzled now. I set him down on the kitchen floor and scooted him outside.
"Look at your shoulder, dear."
The colorful splat on the shoulder of my beautiful jacket told me what everyone in the store had also seen. Was I embarrassed! Humiliation can feel like an anchor around your neck when you're in the 8th grade. "Well, I guess this is he last time I take Rooster anywhere on my shoulder."
Mom turned toward the dishes again. She didn't want me to see her grinning, but the mirror above the sink gave her away. For the next two days I worried, hoping she didn't need anything from the store, because I needed some time to live down all the humor I had caused.
I still took Rooster with me sometimes, but mostly walking on his own two feet beside me. To this day I often wonder what became of that loden green jacket. I see that color is popular again.