are supposed to hatch on October 12th, give or take a couple of days. How do you know this, the patrons ask me when I am working down in the Youth Department, the eggs sitting (resting? warming? percolating?) in the incubator nearby.
I explain that the local farm that sent us the eggs included a helpful info sheet. In addition to when we should expect the eggs to hatch, they've also given us instructions on how to keep them warm and watered until the hatching. How to handle the baby chicks once they do break through. And what happens if one or two... don't. But I gloss over that part.
In the meantime, we're inviting our young patrons to suggest names for the baby chicks. I am all about this chick hatching program and must confess that it is giving me an absurd amount of joy. Almost as much joy as the library's goat yoga program several weeks ago. I mean, how can you not find joy when a baby goat hops up onto your shoulders? Well, okay, it wasn't a total joy when one of the goats pooped on my yoga mat. But
that was easily cleaned off and we all went on about our goat-yoga-ing. But back to the baby chick eggs. Their arrival was a blessing that kept my mind off the hurricane that was bearing down on Florida, where one of my aunts lives alone. I talked to her the day before the storm made landfall and she seemed completely prepared and calm about it all, reminding me that she'd taken a direct hit from Hurricane Charlie in 2004 and
did I remember how she called me frantically after hitchhiking with some strangers who happened to be riding past, lovely people who offered to drive her out and through and past the devastation until she could find a cell signal?
Well, yes, I did remember that. And I remembered asking her what I could do to help and how she told me to call a rental car place and have them send a car for her (hers was being repaired and now she was stranded with no electricity and no water, and if she had a car, at least she could get out of there.)
This happened eighteen years ago and it actually seems more absurd to me now than it did then, but basically, I did call a rental car place (Enterprise, because I really want to give this company credit) and pleaded with the guy who answered the phone to drive a car to my aunt, something like 45 minutes away and in the middle of a disaster area, and no, he would not be able to call to confirm that she was there, and even as I was explaining all of this to the guy, I could hear how nuts it sounded.
But crazily enough, he agreed to it, and he drove the car out to her and she rode with him back to the rental car place, where she paid him and took possession of the car, and that was when she called me to say, Thanks! as if she just knew he'd come through for her, as if we lived in a world where things like that happened and people did momentous acts of kindness for complete strangers, because I guess, sometimes, we do live in that world?
So, thank you Mr. Rental Car Guy for reminding me of our shared humanity, our compassion for our fellow humans, especially now as I read terrible comments from people online about the storm survivors in Florida, how they chose to live down there and how dumb they were not to leave and what do you expect.
Here's what I expect: that people who write comments like that maybe not write comments like that. A big ask these days, I know, but I'm putting it Out There. Meanwhile, waiting for my aunt to call and waiting for my aunt to call and waiting for my aunt to call, I eyed the chick eggs, none of them ready yet, but all of them (most of them?) sitting resting warming percolating until they are and then--
she called! She made it through unscathed, and this time with a working car and no need for anyone to call a rental car place. If we'd had to, I'm not sure a request like that would've worked this time.
But in my Choose Your Own Adventure version of this story, I am going to leave you with this ending:
Every egg hatches, and the rental car guy always drives through the wreckage to save the stranger.