Thursday, June 7, 2012

Kauai's Roosters Can be Demanding!

       Three determined jungle roosters have been paying special attention to the home of Kapa‘a artist Fanny Bilodeau, according to Ron Bilodeau, Fanny’s husband.
       “I believe these birds have been intent on telling us something, but I really think they’re trying to talk specifically to Fanny,” said Ron when this reporter visited their home to learn more.
“She’s the one who’s known to paint Kaua‘i’s roosters in both real and absurd situations. So Fanny asked me to investigate the hullabaloo outside her studio,” he said. “It’s as though they actually know what some of her paintings portray and they seem to want to talk with her, I think. Although, that sounds nuts, doesn’t it?”
       To determine what just may be sparking the rooster commotion, this reporter researched further and was reminded that some of Fanny’s artwork features roosters performing amazing and unbelievable feats.
       I first admired her art a few years ago while munching on banana macadamia nut pancakes at Kountry Kitchen in Kapa‘a. For example, Fanny’s rooster art includes one with a rooster flying an airplane, another surfing.
       Knowing that Kaua‘i Deputy Robert Moakane may be of some help with deciphering the mystery I asked him to meet with me, along with the Bilodeaus and the roosters. The deputy is known to be a “rooster whisperer” and to actually be able to communicate in some way with the jungle fowl.
This reporter has documented his unusual talents in a few stories in The Garden Island, where Deputy Moakane was able to use his special skills to assist with rooster-related dilemmas.
       The meeting was set for last Wednesday at mid-morning when the roosters had finished their well-known, self-appointed “wake-up” services for the island. The seven of us gathered in the Bilodeau yard around an outside table. Some of us were in lawn chairs while others pecked on the ground nearby. As soon as the deputy had arrived, the roosters took notice and glanced back and forth at each other.
       Then they slowly backed away as if to say, “Uh-oh, what’d we do now?!” The deputy immediately put them at ease, crouching down to their level and offering a handful of chicken feed while staring intently into their eyes.
The roosters lifted and cocked their heads a bit, then began chattering or chirping —or some such noise — directly at the deputy. He nodded knowingly, got up from his crouch and pulled up a chair to address Fanny.
     “I’m pretty sure that the roosters are looking for some type of royalty payments from you. You know, for you using their images in your paintings,” he said, in a noticeably serious tone but smiling at the same time, obviously attempting not to laugh and put the roosters off, who appeared glued to his every action and statement.
       “Really?! Oh, well, I guess I can understand that,” Fanny said in a thoughtful way that seemed to reflect on the odd, but interesting information.
       “Well, then” she said talking directly to the roosters, “how can I do that?” Ron looked at her as though she was nuts. The roosters looked at her as though to convey appreciation for her understanding. They approached her slowly and maybe, I might add, even affectionately.
       “Well, I’m not sure what to suggest” said Deputy Moakane. “Perhaps it would be appropriate to offer them what they value most, which is food and respect. I’d say you set a bit of grain out each day, away from the house, and see if that does the job. Of course, feeding the wild fowl is, shall we say, frowned upon, but I believe it will be OK under the circumstances.”
      “So what you’re saying” asked Ron “is that some of Fanny’s models for her paintings have been and will be working for ‘chicken feed’?”  
       “Yep, that’s about it. It may not seem like much to you or me but for them, chicken feed is perfect”
       The roosters nodded in apparent triumph, bowed to the deputy, then to Fanny, looked each of us in the eye and strutted off with their heads held high.

Story © Roger Lepley
Illustration “Roosters Surfing” © Fanny Bilodeau

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