It’s amazing what will trigger a memory, a full belly laugh and a story. I will always be so grateful to my grandmother, Rose Behnke for taking so many photos of my mother and uncles as they grew up on the nursery. Mom (Sonja Behnke Festerling) and I like to look through all the old photos of the ‘good old days’ as she calls them.
This one caught her attention the other day and had her laughing and remembering. Like many of us, she and her brothers had many pets (dogs, cats, horses and the occasional frogs and turtles) but her very favorite was a bantam (small chicken) hen named Gretel. Gretel was one of a number of Golden Bantams given to her to raise by her neighbor, Mrs. Miller. (On a side note: my mom told me the Golden Bantams laid little brown eggs that my grandmother would use to make coffee in the percolator. Shell and all went into the grounds. Sounds nasty to me, but that’s how she did it.) My mom loved Gretel and would carry her all over the nursery. And when she was not being carried she was following my mom around. I think most 4-H’s understand the way my mom felt. Bantams make wonderful pets! The only problem I see with this story is I am pretty sure this was a rooster, not a hen. Maybe his name was Hansel?
by Stephanie Fleming, Behnke’s Vice President