Friday, November 13, 2009

After All, It Was Friday the 13th!

When my son was little, we had a picture book, the name of which I do not remember. The story was about a rancher who leaves his wife at home on the boring ranch while he goes to the small town for excitement. It turns out that the most exciting event in town is watching a turtle cross the street. Meanwhile, back at the ranch—that’s a quote—an entire series of exciting events keep the wife entertained, including, if my recollection is correct, the Presidential helicopter.

While living in our small town is not that dull, there are days when nothing much seems to happen. We tend to get a kick out of the small events.

One morning a few weeks ago, a colleague came into the teachers’ workroom and commented that on the way to school she had seen a chicken trying to cross the road—the highway, in fact. It was a black chicken. That afternoon she saw it in the same place, still trying to cross the road.

Two or three nights later, my telephone rang. My son inquired, “Has Dad decided to put chickens on the lot? There’s a chicken in there.”

I innocently asked, “A black chicken?” Never miss a chance to make your children think that Mom has extrasensory insight, even if the child is 25.

“How did you know it was a black chicken?”

I explained. In the middle of the night, when my husband woke up for his wee early morning hours coffee, I told him about the chicken. I don’t think he believed me. Because of the objects on the lot and some low-hanging tree branches, it was a few days before he spotted the chicken. And even then, his first sighting occurred when the chicken crossed the road at the intersection of Main Street and Highway 60 to eat French fries from the parking lot of the Tasty Cream Drive Inn. This went on for a few days. There were regular chicken sightings inside our lot fence, on the sidewalk outside, and across the street at the Tasty Cream. Then, alas, the chicken disappeared. We all suspected fowl play by a dog or cat. (Sorry, it was too good a chance to pass up.)

About a week and a half after the last reported sighting—by this time we had students who had heard the story—a teacher who lives about 20 miles south of town came in chuckling. Her farmer husband had been down at the Wheat Growers grain elevator and had seen a chicken competing with the usual resident pigeons for spilled grain. She immediately asked, “Was it black?” After her husband gave an affirmative answer, she told him the story and then filed her report with us the next morning.

Elevator sightings continued for a day or so, but the elevator is on the very edge of town by the railroad tracks, and the black chicken had not been heard from again until this week. A student reported a sighting last weekend in the Post Office parking lot. That lot is at the other end of Main Street from the elevator; it is also next to our fenced lot with the low hanging tree and lots of cover. Unfortunately, though, there have been no more sightings. Since it is a black chicken, we had great hopes for an appearance on Friday the 13th, but it didn’t work out. I particularly had hopes, since although I’ve followed the story with great interest, being in on the original conversation, I’ve never actually seen the chicken for myself.


Carrie said...

Is it this one? We got it from the library a few weeks ago.

Panhandle Jane said...

Yes, that's it. The name of the book is Meanwhile Back at the Ranch. How about that?

Deb said...

Carrie beat me to it. My kids loved that book, and I've used in my language arts classes too.

Love the black chicken story!