That particular October morning was especially crisp. We all had business in town so the day was more harried than most. I was up early packing lunch boxes for the day, preparing breakfast, and getting a head start on the monstrous pile of laundry. After waking the girls for the third time (at least), they scuttled down the stairs for a quick bite to eat. I readied Cupcake and we scooted out the door, leaving a treat for Clover and blowing kisses as we left. Of course, getting everyone situated into the van sometimes takes a considerable amount of time. The girls have to decide whose turn it is to sit by Cupcake, consequently move Lovey’s booster seat, buckle up, and settle in for the twenty minute drive to town.
We. Were. Off
I dropped the big girls off at the school, while Cupcake and I set out to run errands. We did all sorts of things that day: The Post Office. The copy store. The gas station. The grocery. And, of course, the five and dime for a little treat. We concluded our list of errands with Walmart. Errands now done, I emerged from the store feeling exceedingly accomplished for the day. We were done early and Cupcake and I had time to kill before our next appointment.
Chicken on the run at Walmart.
As we approached our van, however, my attention was drawn across the parking lot, 2 lanes over. I could not be entirely sure, but there appeared to be a chicken standing there. And not just any chicken. It appeared to be a buttery yellow Buff Orpington, which I would only know because the only sort of chickens I have ever had in life have been Buff Orpingtons. I chuckled as I thought to myself, why on earth would someone bring their chicken to town? Poor thing. For just a moment, my thoughts meandered, “Could it be… No, Impossible. Absolutely not.” And the idea was completely shelved.
I took my time buckling Cupcake into her car seat and loading my bags into the van, eyes never moving from the chicken. She wandered, seemingly dazed and confused. I had to take a picture. Or two. The Man was in an important meeting, but surely he would get a kick out of this. I texted him right away. “You’ll never believe it…”
I shimmied into the driver’s seat and watched the drama unfold, as I had nothing pressing to do for another hour and this was free entertainment. A woman approached the chicken, the chicken sidled right up to her, and I could hear her say, “She seems very friendly!” Soon after, the friendly fowl was drawing a crowd. The Walmart army was not far behind, with their cumbersome walkie-talkie contraptions in hand. I overheard words like “authorities” and “animal control.” I found myself wishing for extra-buttery popcorn… this was getting good! (And had the potential to become a fabulous story for my blog.)
My phone sprung to life. I was hoping for The Man. It was not. I answered anyway. I unenthusiastically listened to the caller yammer on about something or another, managing to utter just enough “yes”-es and “uh-huh”s to create the illusion of communication while I monitored the situation.
Then, a police car appeared on the scene… and unexpectedly great sorrow welled up within. What would happen to this sweet, disoriented bird? Should I offer to take her in? Wouldn’t Clover just love to have a friend? But how would I get her home? I had nothing suitable for transport and yet another engagement before we could head back to the homestead. I decided I could not watch. I started the van and drove away. Quickly.
As I sped away, my phone rang again only this time it was the call I hoped for. The Man. Before I could utter a word, he started in, “Why in the world did you bring the chicken to town?”
Taken aback at such a charge, I replied, “I most certainly do not know what you’re talking about. Clover is at home.”
“Are you blind??? That is our chicken!” he insisted. Well, for someone who was still pretty irritated about the chicken, I guess he had been paying more attention than I realized. But I was unmoved.
Maybe I am still not country enough, because there certainly seems to be no difference between one chicken or another to me. And certainly not with Buff Orpingtons. And certainly not in the Walmart parking lot from two lanes over.
We bantered a bit more, hung up the phone, and I moved on with my day, confident Clover would come running to greet me upon my arrival at home.
But to my utter astonishment… She. Did. Not. Come. And The Man gloated that he was right. And I have nearly lost my marbles trying to figure out how a full-grown hen could hitch a ride to town in a van full of giggling girls, ride around for two hours worth of errands, and not be noticed.
Tell. Me. How???
And quite unwittingly, I watched. And photographed. And laughed.
So two and half years. Twenty-four chickens. And the adventure has abruptly come to a halt. For now. It seems destiny to buy my eggs at the corner market. Perhaps this year we’ll try gardening instead.
Three days before Clover’s final disappearance, she cleverly photo-bombed our Christmas card photo shoot. This memorable photo was the centerpiece of our Christmas card and now hangs on the family room wall.
Thanks for the memories, Clover!
Love & Coffee.
If you missed out, you can catch up here:
For the Birds, Part 1.
For the Birds, Part 2.
For the Birds, Part 3.
For the Birds, Part 4.
Can’t get enough of the chickens? You can read about our previous flock here:
Love & Coffee!
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