Mo the Rooster was the protector, and not the protectee.
What brought Mo to mind was the Budweiser Super Bowl commercial of the puppy that climbed into a horse trailer, possibly thinking one of his Clydesdale buddies was about to take a trip, and he would go with him. The puppy wound up in the horse trailer alone, and didn’t escape until he got to town. Then he began his homeward journey, only to be close to his destination when he was confronted by a wolf. Four of his Clydesdale friends came to his rescue and escorted him home.
With Mo it was the other way around. He protected his buddies, the horses.
The first day I ever met Mo, I had no idea he existed. I was visiting one of my sisters. My brother-in-law liked to ride horses, and had a couple. I decided to go down to the barn, and let myself in the pasture gate early one morning.
I got as far as the barn door, saw the horses’ heads sticking out of their stalls, possibly anticipating a rub on the head or an apple or other delicacy. From his habitat in the barn, here came a two-foot tall white rooster in full pursuit.
I thought he saw something that needed to be attended to, I just didn’t immediately realize it was me. When his straight line of attack didn’t veer from me, I decided I had better leave as fast as I could.
Having some familiarity with chickens, I knew they lose some of their forward motion by the way they run, a sort of waddling from side to side. I’m not sure of the proper name of what’s at the end of their feet, maybe claws. What this rooster had (didn’t know his name at the time) were talons, as in a bird of prey talons.
I was never known for my speed in the sprints, but I likened myself to Forrest Gump when he was trying to escape his tormenters and accidentally ran onto the University of Alabama football practice field, and outran everybody else. I do think on my hundred yard dash I would have outrun Forrest Gump on this day.
All the while I was trying to decide if I should attempt to jump over the gate, and possibly strip some of my personal gears if I didn’t make it, or stop, unlatch it, and close it quickly behind me. I didn’t dare look back over my shoulder, because it would slow me down. I didn’t know whether this bird of prey could fly, and would simply swoop down on me once I thought I was safe outside the pasture.
I got outside the gate, latched it, and saw this rooster slowing down as he came eyeball to eyeball with me. He turned around, and strutted back toward the barn.
By that time everyone was up for breakfast, and I recounted my experience at the table. “Oh,” my sister said, “that’s only Mo.”
Only Mo I thought to myself. I was thinking whenever there was a war, they should draft Mo.
I could say that Mo belonged to my sister and brother-in-law, but if truth be known, Mo didn’t belong to anyone. They did provide Mo food and shelter, but Mo’s place in the family was more like an understanding.
The understanding was that my sister would not go near him. On a good day my nieces and nephew might try their luck in the pasture. The only one Mo ever took to, as we say in the South, was my brother-in-law. I assume Mo realized my brother-in-law fed the horses and him, and he posed no threat to his peaceful surroundings.
I did tempt Mo on one other occasion when I went with my brother-in-law to see the horses. Surely Mo would not attack me when I was in the company of his acknowledged friend. I made it to the pasture gate just in time. Mo gave me that sarcastic stare, then turned for the processional back to his buddies.
Mo’s gone now, and the horses, and my sister, and brother-in-law. I sure hope God gave Mo a barn and a big pasture for him and his horses, and a pasture gate with a good latch on it.