I remember a guy named Chick. I honestly don’t know if that was his real name or nickname. And his gal named Deloris. A married couple whose first names were Chick and Deloris. I don’t think I ever knew their last names. To me though Chick and Deloris was never their name. To me they were Chicken ‘Loris, and always will be.
Apparently as a wee rugrat I had once misheard “Chick and Deloris” and combined it in my head, morphing it into “Chicken ‘Loris”… A single animal in two parts. They and the family just adopted my version of their names, and they all came to use that among themselves, at least when we were together.
Technically Chicken ‘Loris were not relations to us, but they were family. They were good friends of my grandparents on my mother’s side, who lived in Illinois, while we lived first out East, and then out West. Chicken ‘Loris hung out all the time, and were such a part of the group that I never realized they weren’t blood relations until adulthood. They were, to me, a vital part of the Midwest branch of the family that we looked forward to seeing when we visited Illinois. A part of the childhood vacation landscape.
Good old Chicken ‘Loris. You had to say their names together, in a run-on just like that. They were one unit in my mind. Chicken had a lean, long and always smiling face. His hair was always in a buzz cut, almost military, and he often had a grizzled chin as his five o’clock shadow arrived around noon. It wouldn’t surprise me if he was an ex-Marine. He just had the look, though never failed to be a big teddy bear. ‘Loris always had big styled hair, usually wearing it up. And she too seemed to always have a big grin at all times, and also was big in the hugging department. She was so good at giving heart-felt hugs that as a young boy you really didn’t mind, though of course had to complain to keep up appearances. She was a girl after all… Yuck!
They looked in many ways like the stereotype of the Midwestern American redneck “good ol’ boy and gal” family. To be honest, the characters of Hank and Peggy Hill of the old animated comedy series “King of the Hill” are eerily similar to Chicken ‘Loris. Though the character “Boomhauer” from across the street may have been closer to Chicken’s body type – tall, skinny, and all wiry muscle.
I think they were farmers, but even that could just be my childhood misconception. Heck, Chick might have sold propane like Hank Hill for all I can remember. It is sad that I didn’t hangout and learn more of their real lives and their own family. All I really knew was it was always fun to see them.
I remember seeing them much later as an adult at each of my grand parent’s funerals. They were more “real” people then, but they were still, and will always be, Chicken ‘Loris. They are now both sadly gone. My nuclear and extended family has grown apart, and even my mother and I are estranged and not likely to reconcile. I don’t fully believe in an afterlife or reincarnation or any of that stuff. But I’m a romantic and like to imagine… What’s more, I know that the Cosmos is far more than we can ever grasp, or could ever know… And I prefer it that way. The mystery is the spice of life.
But I can’t help but think that somewhere in another life or universe, whatever that may be, those two are still a unit. A “Chicken ‘Loris” as indivisible as chicken noodle soup, and as equally comforting to have around… If only in my memories.