Friday, December 16, 2011


"Big Red" 11" x 14" oil/linen

My grandmother, Mi-Mi, raised peacocks, so as a young boy growing up in central Texas one of my fondest memories is Mi-Mi's barnyard which was full of peacocks and chickens. Mi-Mi's home was once a stagecoach stop outside of San Antonio. It was large with her upstairs art studio, my grandad's workshop where he made me, my brothers and my cousins toy guns and very large oak trees where the peacocks would roost.

One spring snakes got into the hen house and ate some of the eggs so when the hatch took place one of the hens had no chicks. She would chase all the other hens around the barnyard trying to take away their chicks. Now the barnyard was a mess and Mi-Mi's solution was to stick an egg in the lonely hen's nest to see if she could hatch it. Sure enough out pops a rooster and now there was peace in the barnyard.

Problem was this rooster grew up thinking he was a peacock. So when the peacocks would roost in the trees at night that's where he would roost. When planes flew overhead and all of the peacocks would start yelling "Help, help, help" this rooster could be heard chiming in with his "cockle doodle do". The big problem came the following spring when mating season took place. The three large male peacocks would prance proudly with their plums of beautiful feathers spread out trying to impress the ladies. This poor rooster, thinking he was a peacock, would also stand erect and spread out his tail feathers and march back and forth in front of the hens and sadly he had no takers. All I remember is one Sunday afternoon Mi-Mi served fried chicken for lunch and when I went outside to play, the rooster was gone. It was one of life's earliest lessons.