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November 24, 2012: Conversation with a Chicken

Henny Penny Palin: I’m not any old chicken. I’m Henny Penny Palin, Chicken Extraordinaire.

Alys: I didn’t say you were old.

HPP: I’m five. Not old enough to be your mother, but old.

A: Stubby Lived to be thirteen.

HPP: That’s old. In the end she wasn’t all there.

A: Does it matter if a chicken isn’t “all there?”

Oh sister where art thou?

HPP: It does indeed. Chickens are more intelligent than you think.

A: They must be.

HPP: I got your innuendo. See? I’m pretty smart.

A: Do you want to see if you qualify to be a member of Mensa?

HPP: No.

A: Why not?

HPP: I don’t have the time.

A: Well, what are you doing with your time these days?

HPP: Laying eggs, scratching at the dirt under the hay, and keeping Snooky amused.

A: Can’t she keep herself amused?

HPP: No.

A: Back to Stubby – really, did it matter that her brain was fried?

HPP: Absolutely. You need brains to be a chicken. You have to be able to preen yourself, and to fluff yourself up on cold winter nights. And you have to be able to fight for your share of food and water. In the end, Stubby couldn’t do any of this.

A: None of this?

HPP: None of this.

A: Gotcha.

HPP: By the way, I’m glad you wrote a eulogy for her, and buried her on the hill. And I’m equally glad that you wrote eulogies for Catchi and Nimby. All were truly great birds.

A: I know, we got lucky.

HPP: You sure did. And it was luck. Some chickens are just mean spirited. When I was living down the road, that is before I came to live here, I was picked on by these large black and white chickens. All day and all night long they’d chase me and go peck, peck, peck.

A: So life here is good?

HPP: Pretty good. You know, I would really like it if you built us one of those huge chicken tractors, like the one your neighbor down the road has. I hear that it even has in-floor radiant heat. And skylights.

Snooky: And a water tap.

HPP: Snooky, back off. This is my interview.

S: Well, I have a few important things to say.

A: Henny Penny Palin is right. This is her interview. I will interview you another time.

S: For the record, I would like it known that I want to go down the road and live in that chicken tractor.

A: I don’t think you’d like it.

S: What’s not to like?

A: That tractor contains 14 chickens.

S: I’m okay with that. I come from a large family.

A: Plus, over there, non-layers like you end up in the stewpot.

S: The stewpot?

HPP: Yes, the stewpot.

S: I’ll pass for now. But tell that husband of yours that we could use some more upscale digs.

A: Will do, but don’t expect new housing anytime soon. He has a long list of projects, and a chicken tractor isn’t on it.

S: Why don’t you build it?

A: I’m considering it.

HPP: What we have is fine for right now. I like the astro-turf ramp and the in-shed roost.

A: Thank you. By the way, I may as well ask you this now, while I have your undivided attention. When I write your eulogy, what do you want me to say?

HPP: I’m not going anywhere anytime soon, so that’s a tough one. But I would like for you to make reference to my name.

A: Would you care to elaborate?

HPP: I want it known that I was named after a famous politician, Sarah Palin, and a famous chicken, both of whom thought that the sky was falling.

A: You sure?

HPP: Oh yes.

A: Why?

HPP: Because I believe the sky is going to fall. Soon. Like December 21.

A: Are you worried about this?

HPP: Nope. Because there’s nothing that anyone can do about this.

A: And in the meantime . . . .

HPP: And in the meantime, keep giving us both the carrot peelings.

S: They are the absolute best.

HPP: Amen sister chicken, amen.

Next: 349. 11/25/12: Dear Sister