Chicken Soup

After a holiday snowstorm, the northwest has been hit with January winds and heavy rains. In Seattle, we know all about rain. The mist and light effleurage. The steady tapotement. And although we buy more sunglasses per capita than just about anywhere else in the world, we definitely know our umbrellas. In fact, we have an annual arts festival every Labor Day, Bumbershoot, to honor the rain-deflecting, shade-giving device. We also know wind tunnels. Blasts barrel up from Elliott Bay, gaining speed until we either get carried away or find ourselves leaned into it, dogged and chafed. On those miserable days, we all recognize and respect the ultimate signal of surrender, similar to a white towel thrown in the ring, it’s the defeated umbrella turned inside-out.

Here, in the photo above, we have the much-touted, wind-resistant version. The careful construction includes the addition of aerodynamic vents, a release valve, if you will, to alleviate the pressure of too much wind in your sails. Our model demonstrates the technique of leaning into the onslaught, and angling the umbrella dome to better parry the wind as well as shield your feathers from rain. Which, now that I mention it, brings to mind a few questions, including …
1) If a trifling can be like water off a duck’s back, then what is like water off a chicken's back?
2) Why is this chicken crossing the road? and,
3) Is this costume merely a clever way to cover his felon-orange jumpsuit?

It might not surprise you to know that by day this fellow is a dignified manager with a long career of public service, nor that he’s a devoted husband and father. It might surprise you, though, to know he is also a talented wood artist who knows the give and grain of any wood he hefts in his hands, and he can make a piece so luminous and supple you want to cry. He’s also a brother. No, not an African-American brother, nor a “Dude!” kind of brother. He’s my big brother Russ. I don’t know why the chicken suit. I didn’t ask. It doesn’t matter. He aint crazy, he’s my brother.


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