I couldn’t tell you who named Steve or even where the name came from, but regardless of the origin, "Steve” quickly became a bar to which all future roosters would be measured.
I firmly believe a good rooster is as important as a good farm dog in many cases. A rooster worthy of being a "Steve” has a robust stance, a deep intense crow and a fearless persona and possesses the uncanny ability to keep constant watch of the sky and ground simultaneously. He takes pride in his role as guardian, forager and defender of his constituents. With his primary focus on his harem, he vows to protect all that fall under his domain from the talons of the hawk, the venom of the snake or the fangs of the ferocious barn cat. He will venture to the edges of the earth—well, yard at least—in search of lush greenery and cream-filled slugs for his kingdom to dine on.
On second thought, maybe "Steve” should mean caveman! Hunter, gatherer, protector: check, check, and, yes, check! Steve the rooster is the equivalent of what many men used to be, and in many cases, long to be again—back in a time when roles were defined, not in an act of suppression but out of basic fundamentals. Cave mom has the milk; taking cave baby on a hunting quest for prehistoric meat is not a great idea. But I digress. This is not meant to start a war of gender roles.
I bring up Steve because Father’s Day is coming up this week. Typically, the word father invokes thoughts of a hunter bringing home his latest conquest or a protector fighting off the boogie man. As small children, many of us looked to our fathers or father figures for strength and security. If we didn’t have anyone possessing these qualities, we probably imagined a life with these superheroes. Usually when we’re sick, we look towards the maternal figures in our life (aka Mom), but when the shadows on the wall form creepy creatures, Dad can scare them away.
I realize not everyone possesses this ideal, but like Steve the rooster, our guardian does not always have to be of direct relation. Sometimes we find these qualities in the strangest places, when we least expect it.
Photo by Kristy Rammel
One of the species under the rooster domain are the ducks. The drake and the rooster are always at odds over territory, and this furor is most prevalent when the ladies are laying. However, on one occasion, a dog chasing after a barn cat ran into the chicken yard, startling the occupants. Having doggie ADD, the dog quickly lost interest in the cat and refocused on the ducks and the delicious buffet of duck eggs. The drakes quacked feverishly, but were no match. Suddenly, Steve rushed to the rescue and promptly placed himself between the ducks and the mongrel. Feathers fluffed, Steve stomped his foot like a raging bull and charged that poor mutt. As my husband says, it was asses and elbows everywhere. Today, the farm dogs are pretty fearless, unless they cross paths with a rooster or even a duck! The roosters and the drakes still fight, but they will become a force to be reckoned with if an outsider messes with the other.
Back to the point, "father” is not only a person, but a feeling. It’s knowing we are safe, feeling protected from the creepy crawlies and the furry hounds. It can lie in the person we call Dad, the man we sleep next to at night, our brothers, our uncles or our neighbors down the road. It’s in the largest, most robust giant, and the smallest, most humble man. He is the bar to which all heroes are measured.
Photo by Kristy Rammel
This Father’s Day, remind your "Steve” he is still your hero. Just for a moment, allow yourself to revert to that little kid scared of the dark and remember the feeling when you were rescued. We all need to feel appreciated, loved and protected. On Monday, we can put our own armor back on and go conquer the world, but this Sunday, let your heroes where their capes proudly!
Happy Father’s Day to all the shadow-chasing, creepy-crawly-squishing, fur-ball fighting defenders of our domain! And that includes my own dad, Richard, and my wonderful husband, Shawn. You two definitely set the bar high! Love you both!
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