To say that I’m a heavy sleeper would be an understatement. But for many years I relied on my trusty singing chicken to wake me up. More or less.
My chicken was just one in a line of alarms arrayed next to my bed, but he was by far the most distinctive, and the noisiest.
(Yes, I know chickens are girls, and roosters are boys, but for some reason I always thought of my chicken as a “he,” but never thought of him as a rooster.
My chicken would loudly and with great enthusiasm greet me with a song in the morning. “Wah, wah, hey baby wake up, come on and dance with me” he would wail. His wails drowned out the clock radio and the buzz of my Big Ben alarm.
After half an hour or so, his wails would bring my daughter bursting into my room, where she slammed her fist down on his cute little red comb to stop the serenade. At times her intrusion would even arouse me from sleep for a few seconds.
My chicken traveled to writers’ conferences with me. Our most memorable journey was to RWA National in Chicago several years ago. A friend wanted to have a breakfast for newly published authors the year I sold to Precious Gems, but the only time she could book was 5:30am. I was ready. I left two wake up calls, set the TV to alarm, activated the alarm on my clock radio, and finally, set my chicken for 5am. If I’d had a cell phone at the time, I would have set that, also.
Surely with all that commotion I’d wake up in plenty of time for breakfast.
But alas, the only ones roused by the chicken and his helpers were the people trying to sleep in adjoining rooms, who must have finally called security to complain about the noise while I dreamt on.
Did you know hotel security can get into your hotel room even if you have the chain on the door?
I woke that morning (way past 5am) to the sight of two security guards standing at the foot of my bed asking, “Are you all right, ma’am?” Nothing like an adrenaline rush to wake a person up in the morning.
I’m sure they must have expected to find a dead body in the room or something, considering the racket coming from my quarters.
At a more recent conference, I snuck back into my room for a quick nap between workshops. I sort of heard a little noise or something and got up because it was time for the next workshop. And there was the maid apologizing because she’d knocked and no one answered.
If I’d had my little chicken, perhaps I wouldn’t have had to suffer this indignity a second time, but alas, after thirty-some-odd years of service my chicken just plain wore out. Oh, I took him to the clock hospital, but the woman there said they don’t make them like that anymore, and there was nothing she could do for my faithful companion.
He now enjoys a place of honor on the cart where I keep my house plants, because I can’t discard my friend after so many years together.
I’m now down to one pitiful clock radio and wake every morning in a panic because I’m afraid I’m going to be late for work.
I do so miss my chicken, who wanted me to wake up and dance every morning, even though that possibility was extremely unlikely. I have to admire his persistence.