Thursday, August 23, 2018



     Being in Cuba during the special period of generalized hunger-less the leaders of the PCC-my wife managed to buy a chicken on the black market.
   I thought she was going to provide us with eggs and because of her looks she looked like a good layer. It was busty, with wide plumage on the sides, even had good legs. That's why I decided to call him Cuca as my mother-in-law's name.
    At first my wife got angry but my little children liked the name and Cuca stayed. She got so used to the name that we called her that and she ran after us saying: "Cocó, Cocó".
   My wife would lock her up every night in a drawer drilled in the kitchen because the thieves were the terror of the neighborhood and ended up with all pigs, poultry and even large dogs. The cats were also disappearing, perhaps in the stomach of some.
   In the morning Cuca woke us up with a Co-Co-which was like antique watches. My wife got up and went up to the terrace where she tied her with a small rope and put a bowl of food that we all saved Cuca. The boys treated her like she was a pet.
   Cuca put a daily egg that at that time was a respite for the boys. And she cackled for her deed so that all of us and our neighbors knew that there was one more egg in the house.
   Cuca got fatter and more and more she looked like my mother-in-law.
   At last, the time came when a rooster prowled her. A collaborating neighbor had an old chicken coop well hidden in his yard and also worked in a government chicken farm so he had access to the food that was also scarce and they had to sell the newborn chicks in the butcher shop at very low prices so that the people will buy them and raise them with their own food. My brother bought 10 of these chicks and they only grew to be adults. Two.
   For our beloved Cuca was happy and happy with a male who wanted her among all the others and had her put a fertilized egg a day.
   The moment came when Cuca hatched the eggs. We made a nest under the staircase on the roof and brought the eggs and Cuca who had already passed the love to the cock - I say.
   Co-Co-Co warned us Cuca every morning but did not leave the improvised natural incubator. Co-Co- Co- we called her and she answered: Co-Co, as if to tell us that everything was fine.
     And the day came when the chicks broke the shell and surfaced in the green courtyard with curiosity of new inhabitants, but if we approached they entered the copious fur of their mother who clucked like a good chicken that was.
   We let them live. Some died of hunger or who knows what.
  I explained to the children that life was like that. And that Cuca would still be pregnant again and bring to the world many, many new chicks.
   The memory of the Cuca hen takes me back to the face of my beloved mother-in-law, CUCA, who never knew that our pet was the same as her.


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