Why Did the Chicken Cross the Road?

On a lighter note… Thought I would tell you a story about when we lived in Hartford City, Indiana.  Hartford City is in Blackford County, the smallest county in Indiana.  It is north of Muncie, northeast of Indianapolis, and south of Fort Wayne.  It is also one county away, or 30 minutes, from Ohio’s state line.  When we lived there, Blackford County had about 6,000 residents.  My husband taught in Muncie, and I taught in Jay County (the county between Ohio and Blackford County).

This was a small town we lived in, and I was a big city girl before we moved there.  Actually, we moved there to get away from the big city.  We both had grandparents who lived on farms, so it’s not like we didn’t know about farming or small towns.  It’s just that we had gotten used to being rather metropolitan, especially since we had lived all over the world.  So, moving to this small town and the slower pace was good for us.  My theory is that there is much to learn in any situation.

When I was a child, we would visit my grandparents’ farm often.  I got to help my grandfather feed the chickens.  And, I thought I’d like it, but what I found is that the chickens liked me… a lot.  :\  They would peck my legs to death, and I learned to fear going into the pen with them as well as learned not to feel so sorry for them when Grandma or Grandpa would kill one for supper.

However, as a child with a big heart, I also had trouble eating animals that I’d known were previously alive.   My reasons for not eating fish or seafood of any kind stems from going fishing with my dad.  He’d pull the fish out of the water, and they’d be staring at us.  Then, Mom would fix them in the oven and put them on a platter on the table, looking exactly like they looked when they were pulled out of the water… still staring at us but relaxing on a platter together.  So, I am not altogether heartless when it comes to animals (as you probably already know because of my dogs and cat), and that leads me to a story of one Saturday morning in Hartford City.

It wasn’t like we’d just had the 4-H fair.  It was in the autumn, and the fair was held in the summer.  The folks across the street had several bags of trash at the curb.  I spotted a chicken digging in their trash.  It wasn’t any ol’ white chicken, but a fancy looking chicken; one like you’d enter into the 4-H fair.  Not that I thought it was pretty or anything, but someone else might.

As I watched this chicken, it started bobbing across the road, you know how chickens do with their heads going back and forth…  Well, we lived in the “heart” of Hartford City; a block from the County Square, right next to the County Library.  And, that chicken was headed straight for the library!  It was almost 10:00 in the morning when the library was due to open.  Now, to set you up so you can get a picture in your mind, here is a picture of the Blackford County Library.  And, here is a picture of the Blackford County Library with our house in the background.  You can see how we have a good view of the library from our house.  This was our house, an old Victorian built in 1893.  You can see more pictures of this house in another of my posts here.

So, I’m watching this chicken become the “Wal-Mart Greeter” for the library.  It’s walking all over the steps and greeting people as they come and go from the library.  I was thinking this chicken must belong to someone.  It looks like a special kind of chicken, and whoever it belongs to might want it back.  So, what do you do in a small town?  Who do you call for a lost chicken?  Well, I called the sheriff to see if he knew who I should call (think “Mayberry”).  As I’m explaining this to the sheriff and he is saying, “uh huh… uh huh…” the chicken starts chasing people.  Flash back!  Memories of my childhood in the chicken pen ran through my mind and I started chuckling.  Then, I saw a lady run away, dropping her books, with her arms waving in the air, and that chicken was running after her.  Hmm… so it’s not just me that’s scared of chickens!  They really are a threat!  😉

As I start laughing out loud while on the phone with the sheriff, I explain that the chicken is now harassing the patrons of the library.  He says he’ll be right over and for me to “detain” the perpetrator.  Are you kidding me???  I asked him how I was going to do that, and he said to just keep an eye on it (probably how my eyeball ended up in the shape it’s in now).  So, I went out and watched it, while keeping my distance (I’m no fool… anymore).  A librarian comes out with a box and tries to lure the perpetrator into the box, but the chicken continues to chase people to their cars and be a town nuisance.

Here comes the sheriff, crawling up in his patrol car.  The librarian yells to him that we’re going to have chicken for supper!  He looks at the chicken and says to me that it looks like one of Earl’s.  Now, how on earth can you tell it’s one of EARL’s?  Anyhow, once again, he wants me to “keep an eye on it” and don’t let it get away, while he goes to get Earl.  Back at the ranch, we’re starting to get hungry but I can’t cook breakfast, because I’ve got to watch that damned chicken!

So, my husband goes up to McDonald’s to get breakfast while I detain the prisoner chicken.  When hubby gets back home, the chicken makes a run for him and his food.  Aha!  My husband says the bird is probably hungry.  I’m trying to remember from my childhood what chickens eat, and all I can come up with is dried corn which we don’t have.  Hubby suggests giving it bird seed, and I wondered if it would be okay for a chicken.  He reminded me that chickens are birds, too (that’s the extent of my farming knowledge).  Here is that “chicken” eating bird seed on our back patio.


Can you tell what kind of bird rooster it is?  The sheriff did eventually bring Earl back and it was, indeed, Earl’s chicken.  But, Earl had to chase it around, too, in order to catch it.  Only in a small town like Hartford City…

So, why did the chicken cross the road?  To get to the library…  <groan>  :\