Village Matters


View from the Coop

By Ann Christoph

When on our early morning walks one of our favorite stops is to check on Paul Pflueger’s chickens. We’d hear their cluck-clucking, a comforting sound that says that all is well in the world of hens. Peering over the fence in the back yard, we’d see them scratching and pecking, going about their business for the day. Beauties: shiny black, barnyard red, one with gray-black shaded feathers giving a scalloped look, and a white prancer with feathered fetlocks. That chicken fragrance took me back to my childhood and the flock that had been my responsibility.  he back-to-earthiness is just what is needed to start the day with a low-tech, low-stress perspective.


Last week, from my office on Coast Highway, I looked up Third Avenue.  Fire trucks, a police car and an ambulance were converging at the top of the street. They stayed a long time. No ambulance left, no sirens blazing.  What could have happened?


Soon we would know. A neighbor had found Paul Pflueger lifeless on his sofa.  We knew him from his help with the garden in the early days, and from the visits of his dog Mocha to the milk bone buffet Alfredo keeps in the garage. A neighbor walking his dog, saying hello.


There was a gathering on Saturday to remember Paul, his life and what he meant to us.  Pictures painted of endless summers of volleyball at the beach, the growing families of friends that grew up and have grown older together. Camping, trips to Mexico, men sharing adventures. Fatherhood, loyal children, sweet ex-wives.  He was stock-broker, restaurateur, high school history teacher. Always challenging, penetrating, thought-provoking. Animal lover, gardener, athlete, true friend.


There was the spread of tasty pot-luck dishes and we took a plate, walking through the garden, chatting with friends. We made our way to the high back corner where the chickens were still scratching away hopefully. There was a chaise lounge set casually next to the coop. Sitting there we saw that it was there for a reason. Here is where Paul could kick back, enjoy his garden domain, be near the chickens, and see the sunset.  It was happening just then. The sky reddened, the light dimmed, the garden was quieter, the hens one by one flew up to their roost and started to settle in for the night. At peace.









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