An official website of the United States government
Here's how you know
A .mil website belongs to an official U.S. Department of Defense organization in the United States.
A lock (lock ) or https:// means you’ve safely connected to the .mil website. Share sensitive information only on official, secure websites.

The Lame Duck in the Chicken Coop

May 24, 2013 | By Seabee Magazine

By Lisa Smith Molinari

3881
VIRIN: 130524-N-ZZ182-3881

We have lived on base three times in my 20 years as a military spouse, in conditions that might best be described as somewhat like a chicken coop.

It s not the appearance of the base that makes it like a coop. (Truth be told, the fences and sterile buildings make military bases more reminiscent of asylums.) Nobody throws feed corn at us. No one lays eggs as far as I know. But it is the pecking order that renders base living similar to an enormous cage full of clucking hens, strutting roosters and peeping chicks running wild.

Every time we move onto a base, I become cognizant of the unique social order. As a new arrival, I take some time to nest, but after my rooster flies the coop for work and the chicks go off to school, boredom and loneliness always set in.

I wander the range in search of a flock to huddle with, but none can be found. Sure, there are hens everywhere and a few stay-at-home roosters, I wouldn t want to be sexist. But I soon realize that I am at the bottom of the pecking order and have to scratch and claw my way to roost with the others.

Careful not to count my chickens before they re hatched, I lay the foundation for my social acceptance into the flock. By the end of my first year, I become familiar with the gaggle, clucking away as we walk the chicks to school together, hatch plans for shopping trips, complain about our wattles and chicken fat, and cackle on our patios.

I m securely perched at a comfortable elevation in the social pecking order, and life is good. As new chickens enter the coop, we chuckle from our high roost, fully aware of the work that they must do to find their places in our flock. Frankly, we get downright cocky.

Toward the end of every tour, my family learns that it must fly the coop and find a new flock. Thoughts of moving leave me a little wistful and reflective. I find myself pondering weighty ideas such as, Why did the chicken cross the road and Who came first, the chicken or the egg

This melancholy state brings about a need for the comfort and companionship of the other hens in my coop, but alas! I discover that, as an outbound hen, I ve been pushed back to the bottom of the pecking order! I have to scratch for social scraps! How did this happen Did I do something fowl

My pea-sized brain realizes that I ve become a lame duck in the chicken coop. I m no longer a contender in the social order because I m about to leave. The other hens won t invest valuable time in further incubating our friendship.

It s not personal, there s no reason to get my feathers ruffled, the sky isn t falling. It s just the way things work.

As I prepare to take wing, I thank my fine friends for their companionship, offer each a peck on the cheek, bid them a final cock-a-doodle-doo, and fly, fly away.

www.themeatandpotatoesoflife.com

Feb. 20, 2024

This Week in Seabee History: February 19-25

Consolidated by U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Naval History and Heritage CommandFebruary 191943: 120th

Feb. 20, 2024

This Week in Seabee History: February 12-18

Consolidated by U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Naval History and Heritage CommandFebruary 121951: Naval

Feb. 8, 2024

This Week in Seabee History: February 5-11

Consolidated by U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Naval History and Heritage CommandFebruary 61943: 85th

Feb. 8, 2024

This Week in Seabee History: January 29 - February 4

Consolidated by U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Naval History and Heritage CommandJanuary 291944: 146th

Feb. 8, 2024

his Week in Seabee History: January 22-28

Consolidated by U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Naval History and Heritage CommandJanuary 221943: 76th

Feb. 8, 2024

his Week in Seabee History: January 15-21

January 151943: 4th Naval Construction Regiment (NCR) commissioned.1944: 21st and 22nd NCRs

Feb. 8, 2024

This Week in Seabee History: January 8-14

Consolidated by U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Naval History and Heritage CommandJanuary 81943: 64th Naval

Feb. 8, 2024

This Week in Seabee History January 1-7

Consolidated by U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Naval History and Heritage CommandJanuary 11946: The

Feb. 8, 2024

This Week in Seabee History December 25-31

Consolidated by U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Naval History and Heritage CommandDecember 25December

Dec. 21, 2023

This Week in Seabee History-December 18 - 24

Consolidated by U.S. Navy Seabee Museum, Naval History and Heritage CommandDecember 181942: 49th