As the years passed, Lester the Rooster’s feathered body started slowing down, and he found himself lounging more often. One of his legs suffered nerve damage, so he couldn't walk upright or stand properly anymore. He still served as activity coordinator for the pigs, but he usually sat on his favorite rock and just watched the festivities from a distance. You could see the pigs gathered around that rock listening to Lester’s stories and advice almost every day.
As Lester's condition slowly worsened, the pigs made up for his disability by carrying him from place to place on their backs and nudging the water and food bowls under his beak. The pigs even took turns carrying Lester into the barn in the evenings so he could roost in his favorite spot in the straw.
One day, Lester decided that he needed to say some things to the pigs while he still had the strength. He stumbled up on his rock and called a meeting with a loud crow.
Once the pigs were gathered around the rock and paying attention, Lester flapped his glorious wings and made a serious expression. “Pigs, my time is near, but I still need to teach you some important lessons. Everyone listen up!”
Pedro moved the water bowl closer to Lester in case he needed a water break during his speech. He could tell this speech was going to be a long one.
Lester dipped his beak into the water bowl, threw back his head to swallow, and continued.
“Pigs, listen to me. I’ve seen a lot in my life, and I want to give you advice to carry with you when I’m no longer here.” Stella looked down at the dirt, and a tear dropped from her face.
“First, life is an adventure! Never forget this. You all have your rescue stories. Never look back, and enjoy every moment you have left on your journey through life.”
Lester gave a pause, and the pigs all looked around with a slight smile, because they knew they were lucky. Luckier than most pigs. Almost in unison, the pigs slowing inched a little closer to Lester.
“Second point!,” Lester pointed his wing forward, and almost lost his balance. “Don’t ever underestimate how wonderful you are. You may have been told that you were worthless or filthy in the past, but those days are over. If you start dwelling on those bad days, brush off those old memories and be grateful.” Lester looked directly at Lucy because she wallowed in her past way too often.
“Third point! Stop and smell the roses. Look at the beauty all around you." Lester turned toward the trees and followed a bird soaring high above with his eyes. "You are living in paradise. You’re safe, warm, and well fed. You are blessed and loved.”
“Fourth! Don’t miss a single minute! Appreciate and be mindful of every moment you have left. Wake up every day and count your blessings.” Daisy looked down at the ground because she was in a bad mood and complaining about silly things just before the meeting.
“Fifth! Love your buddies! We are all friends here. We support each other. We love each other. We are truly a family here. Don’t ever take your buddies for granted.” Stella looked over at Mandy and gave a couple of soft snorts, because they were best friends.
“And finally, be like a flower and reach for the sun! Share your beauty with others. Never pass an opportunity to help a friend in need. Be a good listener, and let your beautiful light shine bright and tall!"
And with that, Lester took a deep breath, flapped his wings, and hobbled off his rock. The pigs stayed in their places, contemplating Lester's words, looking around at each other with tearful eyes, and praying to God that Lester could stay with them forever.