Monday, August 12, 2013

Famous Chickens I Have Known

It’s been a rough summer all around the country. Today in the Northeast we’re starting the week with yet another round of dreary skies, high humidity and drenching rain showers. My brain is half-melted and half-soggy, which could account for my idea to do this post on Wonders of the Chicken World.

Let me start out by saying my affinity for poultry is a hereditary trait, so I can’t help my fascination with these creatures. My maternal grandmother raised chickens on her farm in Hatfield, Massachusetts. Although she died when I was a baby and I never had the opportunity to meet her brood, my mother loved to tell me stories about how my grandmother was attached to her chickens. The most amusing story concerned how my grandmother broke her arm one winter day when she slipped on an ice patch on her way to the hen house. In those days, she was kept in the hospital for several days and my mother said the only thing she asked about when one of her 8 kids came to visit was “Are you taking care of my chickens?”

My mother wasn’t a chicken fancier; she was a duck fancier.  Her apartment was filled with the ceramic and stuffed ducks she collected. We never ate duck and my mother’s reasoning for this was that it was “too fatty.” I suspect she just couldn’t bring herself to ingest a creature she loved.

I’m more partial to bears and monkeys, but I do admit that when I see a flock of chickens I’m invariably drawn to them and have been known to carry on a conversation in “Cluckese.” On one of our trips to a venue that we knew would contain chickens, Joe made this sign for Stretch to carry:

However, I like to point out that my family obviously was aware that there are more to these creatures than just a good barbecue item. Check out these examples:

There was the chicken who lived in Chinatown in Manhattan and challenged you to a game of tic tac toe. She always won.

I never met Zelda the Psychic Chicken and couldn’t find any information on her on the Internet, so if you’ve ever had your fortune told by her, let me know if it turned out the way she predicted!

Delmar the tap dancing chicken performed at Silver Springs in Florida. He would turn on the juke box and tap dance for his audience.

That last chicken gave Stretch an idea. He said as long as he’s fated to put up with my affinity for chickens, maybe he can turn it into a profitable venture. He’ll be selling tickets for concerts featuring  “Stretch Bear and the Clucks” soon.

(With thanks to Mitzi, Stretch's newly appointed Road Manager, for providing the instruments for the chickens.)

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