Rob and I always enjoyed the way his mother, Gretchen, completed Christmas gift tags. Some came from her, but others came from the dogs, some were from the cats, others from the cows. But the signator that delighted us most was The Barnyard Hen.
In the years since her gift tag debut, we’ve stumbled upon things that helped cement in our minds the whimsical image of The Barnyard Hen wrapping the present, then scratching out her name on the gift tag. A folk art chicken doorstop, or the well-loved Minerva Louise series of children’s books about the antics of a precocious chicken; each prompt a chuckle and knowing nod.
Beyond the whimsy, The Barnyard Hen brings us a sense of comfort and security. She evokes the exchange of holiday cheer around a blazing farmhouse fireplace. And then there is the reassuring spirit of a barnyard alive with activity. It’s a front and center view of the beauty of life and the bounty of the earth. All fittingly encapsulated in the image of The Barnyard Hen – a satisfied mother checking in here and there, tending to her flock from a distance with a watchful eye and a keen knowing . . . just like Gretchen.