By Ashley Lodato
In what is possibly the funniest stowaway story I’ve ever heard, two chickens hitched a ride to Port Townsend with Molly Patterson on Sunday.
Molly is one of the chaperones for a marine biology camp that a dozen Methow Valley fifth- and sixth-graders are attending this week. Early Sunday morning, we all gathered at Molly’s house to drop off the kids and load their duffel bags into the small cargo trailer attached to Molly’s minivan. But one family was late, so we drifted inside the house for a cup of coffee (and, because this is Molly Patterson we’re talking about, we then nibbled on the scrambled eggs and toast that Molly nonchalantly whipped up for 12 kids and as many parents).
As we stood in the early morning spring sun waiting for the last family, we noticed that some of Molly’s free-range chickens kept hopping in through the open doors of her van. We’d send one of the kids out to shoo the birds out of the vehicle, but one curious hen persisted. Still, when the van and other chaperone’s vehicle were loaded, all seats were occupied by humans, none by chickens. The van, the trailer and the other car pulled out of the driveway, destination Port Townsend.
Fast-forward three hours. Molly stopped for a bathroom break at a rest stop and heard a rooster crowing. “That’s unusual for Snoqualmie Pass,” she thought. And then she realized that the crowing was coming from inside her cargo trailer. Yep, a hen and a rooster had been shut in the trailer with the duffel bags and were now part and parcel of the Methow caravan headed to Centrum for six days.
Now, many west-siders already believe that we rural east-siders are pretty much country bumpkins. True, the Methow has a long history of sending kids to art and science camp at Centrum and its director warmly welcomes us. Still, we were all pretty sure that if Molly showed up with not only 12 ragtag kids but also a hen and a rooster, the welcome might not be as sincere as it typically is, despite the promise of one fresh egg each day.
No, showing up at Centrum with two chickens was not really an option. So Molly did what any other self-respecting 40-something-year-old would do — she called her mom and dad, who agreed to chicken-sit for the week, no questions asked, no accusations of “fowl” play. What a couple of good eggs, eh?