A Veteran’s Tale
(…finding life after the hell of war)

In the aftermath of any war, those who come home from it are often at a loss about how to return into their civilian world of –before-, and, more often than not, never figure it out, or manage to come up with the best ways and means to do so.

The hero of this tale, however, after a number of years, did eventually do it by creating and carving out his own niche in that world for himself…by becoming a chicken rancher. It took a lot of hard work but, slowly, his enterprise grew until it was almost paying off. But by then he had come to realize that…if he really wanted to get further ahead…he would have to specialize, instead of just being another warden of a “stalag cluckenspiel”.

So he began studying and experimenting how best to cross-breed different varieties of chickens to produce some exotic varieties of them. After a number of his hybrids had won a bunch of blue ribbon prizes at different shows, he decided to further expand his horizons by trying his hand a cross-breeding different species of birds. Building upon his earlier experiments, he soon began producing some very, very, exotic hybrids indeed, and making a modest name for himself in the process.

That caught the attention of the editor of the local paper where he lived who decided our hero was the perfect subject for a local-boy-makes-good story, something that might help boost the paper’s circulation. So the editor called him up, pitched the idea, and the veteran agreed to be interviewed for the feature. A short while later, on the appointed day, the paper’s bright young reporterette accompanied by the paper’s hulking photographer were at his front porch all primed and ready to do his story. After a bit of small talk, our veteran hero suggested things might be easier if he just gave them a grand tour of his facility so they could see firsthand what he did. They agreed…and off they went on the tour. At the sight of the main enclosure both the reporterette and the photographer were much impressed. This was no ordinary chicken facility. It was huge, and inside it were all sorts of other pens for each separate type of bird. The reporterette exclaimed “You must have a lot of birds here!” Smiling, the veteran said “Yeah! Things just kinda expanded on me.”

Entering the enclosure they began touring through it. Coming to the first pen containing one of those exotic hybrids, the reporterette said :”Oh! This is an interesting one. What do you call it?” The veteran breeder answered “I call it a –CH-URKEY – it’s a cross between a chicken, for quality and taste…and a turkey…for quantity.” The reporterette beamed while the ace photographer fired away taking pictures of the creature from all sorts of angles.

Moving on to the next pen, the veteran said “Now this is one of my prized creations! Absolutely the best!” Swooning with delight at the sight of it the reporterette exclaimed “It’s really beautiful! What do you call it?” as the photographer nearly went ape taking his shots of the beautiful creature. Smiling broadly our veteran hero replied “I call this a SW-OOSE. It’s a cross between a swan and a goose…very, very tasty!” The reporterette sighed about that idea, while the photographer just drooled at the thought.

They kept going on through the rest of the array of all sorts of fantastic bird creations our veteran hero had produced, then, at the very end of it all, they came to the last pen which held the strangest looking one of all of them. The reporterette exclaimed “Wow! Now that’s really the most exotic creature I’ve ever seen. What do you call this one?” Meanwhile, the photographer worked in a frenzy taking shots of it from every conceivable angle he could devise. Frowning a bit, and shaking his head, our veteran hero just sighed and said “Don’t have a name for it yet. Can’t seem to find the right combination for it…it’s really a difficult thing with this one.” Puzzled by that the reporterette then asked “So what’s it a cross of?”

Taking a deep breath, our veteran hero replied “It’s a cross between a –pheasant – and…a –duck-! ”