Sunday, December 12, 2010

Random Chicken

I stopped in at the corner store today on my way to work, to buy a drink. Coming outside again, I noticed a large brown chicken walking behind my car. This is the sort of traffic hazard I am unused to in the city, although I did once brake for a wallaby in the upmarket suburb of Castle Hill. I put that down to heavy flooding at the time. I figured little Skippy had just caught a ride down the hill on a mudslide.

But a chicken! I was struck by the awesomeness of chickens. I was reminded that I want to own chickens. Just two of them. Maybe a brown one and a white one. Can you pick what colour chickens will be when they grow up? I mean, they all start off yellow, right? Like yolk. I don’t know what I’ll name my chickens, but since I will only have two it would be silly not to name them.

I have loved chickens ever since Rosie’s Walk. John and Bettina used to read Rosie’s Walk on Play School every day when I was little. Just like I can still hum the music of the Rocket Clock, and pick my favourite window (Arched!), Rosie’s Walk and, by extension, chickens, take me back to when life was simple, uncomplicated, and it was socially acceptable to be distracted by shiny things.

 When I was twelve, my father was transferred to Goondiwindi. Not only did our house there have a huge rumpus room, a pool, and an easy way to sneak out at night, it also had chickens. There were about a dozen of the tatty old things. They were lucky to produce a few eggs a week between them, but I loved them all the same. I used to hang out in the chicken pen, running the hose to make mud, and teaching the chickens to perch on my shoulder. I looked like a hillbilly Long John Silver, but I persevered in the knowledge that one day I would have an entire troupe of trained circus chickens. The dream died, but the love of chickens remains. 

So, today I reversed my car very carefully out of my parking spot as the chicken made its way to the footpath. Another car was stopped in the street, the driver and passengers helpless with laughter. A random chicken. Life is good.

“So,” said Bill at work when I was telling everyone my fabulous chicken story whether they wanted to hear it or not, “a chicken was crossing the road. Did you ask it why?”

Damn. I will chalk that up to a missed opportunity.

If you want to share the love, you can buy Rosie’s Walk by Pat Hutchins here: Amazon


  1. Did you really get the chickens to perch on your shoulder? We had chickens when I was a kid, but all I remember is tossing in worms for them to snack on.

    And Goondiwindi is such a great name.

  2. I certainly did, Steve! Given the choice between remaining on my shoulders of drowning in the bog that I had turned the chicken pen into, they chose the shoulder every time.

    Goondiwindi was definitely the hardest town to spell that I ever lived in. population 4000. That's almost a letter each.



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