Thoughts on a Chicken

Traffic was moderate and moving steadily yesterday on the two lane road that is the middle leg of my commute home from work, when I spied a chicken on the edge of the northbound lane, waiting to cross the road.  I looked again to make sure it wasn’t a wild turkey, but no, it was actually a chicken.   A very anxious chicken, which walked up to the edge of the pavement, backed off, and then bobbed up again as the traffic whizzed by.  Everything in this chicken’s own yard appeared just fine; there was probably nothing across the state road that it really couldn’t get at its own place, at least nothing that seemed risking its life for.  I was too far past it to see if it actually attempted to cross, but that chicken probably did not have much of a chance if it did.

Automatically,  the next thought that popped into my head was, “Why is that (foolish) chicken trying to cross the road?”    Followed by (of course, what else?) the response – “To get to the other side”.  How conditioned we are!  As children, that line has most likely been as drilled into our brains as the Knock-Knock joke. And it’s still ingrained in our heads. What is it about the chicken question?

It reminded me of one hot, lazy, late summer afternoon, when a number of old friends and our young children were winding down from a barbecue. The kids had been running around all day, leaping through the sprinkler, piling into the hammock and swinging madly until somebody ffirefliesell out of it; slamming in and out of the back screen door with handfuls of chips and watermelon juice hands. They had reached that point where they were done racing around and were a bit tired, gravitating back to the parents; that point where they hurl their sticky little bodies into our laps, maybe start to whine a bit, complain about scrapes and boo-boos that they were too busy to care about all during the day; that point where they begin to get silly. Those moments somewhere before roasting marshmallows on a stick;  before the fireflies come out, before the bath and PJ’s.

They were at that age where they ask the same thing, or something close to it, over and over again and then laugh hysterically at any answer.   I indulged them.

Kids:“Why did the chicken cross the road?”

Me: “To get to the other side”

Kids: Hysterical laughter.


Kids:  “Why did the elephant cross the road?”

Me:   “To get to the other side”

Kids:  Hysterical laughter.


Kids:“Why did the boy cross the road?”

Me: “To get to the other side”

Kids: Hysterical laughter.


Kids:  Why did the MONSTER cross the road?”

Me: “To get to the other side”

Kids:  Hysterical laughter.


Kids:  Why did the GHOST cross the road?”

Me:  (using a spooky voice and laughing at the double entendre that went over their heads):  “To get to the Other Side!”

Kids:  Hysterical laughter.

Adults: Laughed too.


It’s all just a string of fleeting moments, isn’t it?  I hope the chicken made it.


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One Response to Thoughts on a Chicken

  1. Judy says:

    I promise my hens will not get out of their coop and run.


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