Across the River with Geoff Goodfellow | January 11

ANIMAL FARM: Imagine if you crossed a rooster with a pig and let this colourful critter run amok on the world stage. Positively Orwellian. Photo: Geoff Goodfellow

ANIMAL FARM: Imagine if you crossed a rooster with a pig and let this colourful critter run amok on the world stage. Positively Orwellian. Photo: Geoff Goodfellow

Lock up your chooks. We are about to enter the year of the rooster according to my Chinese calendar. At around the same time as Chinese fire-crackers go off to usher in another year, the United States of America will inaugurate a new president. I am sure there is some sort of strange coincidence, some spooky synergy, happening here.

My chook-book describes a rooster as "a polygamous animal, fearlessly guarding his hen-house by attacking any other cocks entering his territory. Other times he just sits on the highest perch crowing."

I have now an image in my head of the top cock, strutting and crowing with his golden comb and glowing gills, lording it over the animals on his big white farm on the hill.

Yep, if we had a rooster, or even a pet pig for that matter, I think we should call him Donald.

Speaking of politicians, I am reminded of the parish priest who was being honoured at his retirement dinner, after 30 years serving the local community.

The local member of parliament was chosen to give a speech at the dinner. The politician was delayed so the priest decided to say his own few words while they waited.

“I got a pretty bad impression of the parish from the first confession I heard here. I thought I had been assigned to a terrible place. The very first person who entered my confessional told me he had stolen money from his aging parents, embezzled from his place of business, cheated on his taxation return, had an affair with his best mate’s wife, taken illegal drugs, and gave his wife’s sister syphilis.

“I was appalled. But as the days went on I knew that my people were not all like that and I had, indeed, come to a fine parish full good and loving people.”

Just as the priest finished his talk, the smiling politician arrived full of apologies for missing the opening speech, then immediately began to make the presentation and give his talk.

“I’ll never forget the first day our parish priest arrived,” said the politician.

“In fact, I had the honour of being the first person to go to him in confession.”

But let's go to a friendlier farm-yard now, where our old mate Dudley bought a prizewinning rooster and tossed him into his chook house. Immediately this new young cock pranced across to the old rooster and told him it was time to retire. But the old rooster wasn’t giving up his girls that easily. He drew himself up to his full height and told the young rooster to stay away from his chooks.

“Can’t I just have three or four, then,” asked the new young cockerel.

“Nope, nick off,” said the old rooster belligerently.

“Listen old timer, you’re past it, I’m taking over here,” said the new young cockerel.

“If you reckon I’m past it,” said the old rooster, “we’ll have a race around the chook house and the winner takes all the hens.”

“Fair enough,” said the young stud. “And since you’re so old you can have a few metres start.”

So off went the old rooster and a few seconds later the young one headed off after him.

They’d only done half a lap of the chook house when Bang!  Dudley let fly with the shotgun and killed the young rooster.

"Bugger it,” said Dudley despondently, “that’s the fifth gay rooster I’ve bought this year.”

Another day Dudley was having breakfast on the verandah when one of the hens raced past, hotly pursued by a very randy rooster. As they flew around the house, Dudley accidentally dropped some of his toast on the grass. When the rooster rounded the corner, he spotted the toast and stopped in his tracks. He gobbled it up, allowing the hen to get away.

“Bloody hell,” said Dudley, shaking his head in amazement. “I hope I never get that flamin' hungry.”

Anyhoo enjoy this year of the rooster, as he greets each morning from the big chook-house with a tweet and a cock-a-doodle-do.

– Geoff Goodfellow

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