It is a Saturday morning and my coffee is almost done- it’s still dark outside since the time change has set in with the month of September being more than halfway over. I really need a cup of coffee though so hold on just one moment…. Perfect. Now because of fall my chickens are not even thinking of stirring about. The girls, my chickens, get a break so to say during the cold months. They like to go to bed early, wake late, and egg production seems to slow -it’s called mother nature. Although I could hang lights to ensure my egg count doesn’t drop, I prefer the natural way and have a couple of chickens who are year round layers to keep my family afloat.
It seems like life is just like that, a change of seasons. As I get older I seem to appreciate life so much more where previously I took it all for granted. No longer though. Now I stay in the moment and take everything I can in; especially time with those I love knowing how fast it can all be gone. Around here is a sad day for many I know including myself for someone who has been taken in the blink of an eye way too young- but that is not my story to tell and those thoughts I will keep to myself.
This story is about a man who lived quite a few years- his name is Steve. While he is no longer here his life is a celebration. The days he enjoyed outside the walls of a prison that confined him for so long are all, every one of them, a miracle that many of us had the pleasure to witness. I heard about Steve long before he came home so to speak, home to us and the circle I run with. Now if you have ever read one of my stories you know the circle I speak of- it is worldwide. One of the gifts that I get by hanging around this circle is enjoying to the fullest the people I meet and the journeys that we walk together.
I met Steve on day one at a meeting and gave him a hug, but he didn’t remember me. How could he? Steve had what to him probably seem like a million people wanting hugs and pictures. We loved on him how we do. I myself just took the hug and said welcome home. Steve looked like he was shell-shocked and I didn’t want to be just another person walking up to take a picture with him.
I remember watching on Facebook Steve getting his first phone, ice cream and so on. Next thing you know he was on Facebook with his own account and later would join Instagram. We became “friends” so to say, social media friends. Shortly after that we started chatting. We had some of the most funniest conversations, I am sure he had funny conversations with everyone, but these were mine. It seemed as if Steve took to social media like a butterfly takes to wings, he just took off. Steve took to life that way too. I can’t begin to imagine the life he had behind the walls for so long, that is not my story. However my truth is I have imagined it and took part in it considering the choices that I made for a while and those that I kept close to me lived it for me-some still do.
This made me appreciate Steve’s journey so much more, I watched him with complete joy. Someone made it out and was living life to the fullest! I watched him everywhere with everyone, there were a million pictures taken with Steve, it seemed to be a thing.
Steve used to call me a superstar in our conversations, of course I told him I was not. “The famous Chicken Lady,” he would say to me and, “when would we meet?” A friend had called me the Chicken Lady once and it stuck so I used it often and still do to this day. Social media can make it seem like people may be famous I guess if you have been sheltered for so long and start to live through your phone. He was glued to his, it was very funny. In seconds we would be chatting from Instagram to Facebook and back again as if he forgot what he was doing and our last conversation. My cubicle life at the time made room for that, but not so much anymore by choice.
By a series of events that happened one day on September 22, 2016, things being cancelled and so on in my life I had a free night and Steve had asked me to join him. I said yes. We drove forever for a meeting, one was closed so we just kept driving around Sacramento until we found an open door. We talked of tacos, women, how I had kissed more girls than him, and relationships. I shared quite a bit with him and in return he did the same. We laughed so much that night. I had never heard Steve’s story so to say and he really wanted me to hear it-so much so that he interrupted the meeting and asked if he could share. I had never seen such a thing and of course he was obliged. At the end of the night I took him to his home and we laughed all the way there too, the conversation never stopped for a second. We had the best meeting in that car, just the two of us, both addicts sharing with one another.
Before leaving my car that night he told me how happy he was to finally meet a superstar-the famous Chicken Lady. I said what are you talking about Steve, you are the superstar my friend-the man, the myth, “the legend,” and it was me who was happy to spend some time with him. Someone who finally made it out! We chatted for a bit later that night and laughed some more. His last message to me was at 4:23am in the early morning hours. Steve went to sleep and never woke up. I was in disbelief when I heard the news, yes on social media. I don’t know why but I messaged him simply-Steve. He never answered me. We did finally take that picture that night-his last selfie, at the last meeting he shared at where I got to hear his story. At times I still wear his sweater, it keeps me warm on cold nights and I place his picture on my family altar for Dia De Los Muertos where I celebrate those in my life that have passed. Those that I love.
The Chicken Lady