Quarterbacks and Chickens

The Sick Chicken by Winslow Homer
The Sick Chicken by Winslow Homer

The holidays have come and gone with hours spent on the couch “marathoning” Friday Night Lights with my teenaged kids (we’re obsessed). My husband hasn’t quite been sucked in. He says: “I don’t have to watch a show about football; I’ve lived it.”

It’s funny how in fiction a paralyzed high school quarterback looks glamorous–even the marital problems on the show are adorable. I LOVE IT.

In real life  a girl doesn’t have a great hair day after almost being raped and high school boys aren’t 30-year-old ex models, but I just don’t care. I hate the word gritty when it comes to art and movies (at least in January I do). The Wire was a realistic show, but I couldn’t watch it. I’m not saying I like to read or watch fluff all the time, but I do like a sheen of unrealistic beauty cast over characters. Isn’t real life ugly enough?

Yesterday I finally went food shopping after  weeks of eating cookies. I bought tons of lettuce. In the fictionalized version of my life I  would  have some lettuce growing in a raised bed. In the fiction world I wouldn’t have come home from Walmart (which is depressing in itself) to find an eerie quiet cast over our farm. Heading down to the barn I wouldn’t have noticed Gluck-Gluck (my favorite chicken) wandering around by herself.

Chicken guarding courtesy of Pinterest
Chicken guarding courtesy of Pinterest

In real life I picked her up and brought her to the coop. Only two chickens inside. Off in the distance I spotted the orange body of another chicken and then another and another. I found a scared and badly injured hen face-first in a rotting pile of hay trying to hide as bitter cold wind lashed her feathers. I carried her home, made her comfortable in an old coat and tucked her in a barrel. Thirteen chickens were carried off or left dead.

They say that once  chickens panic it drives  hungry foxes into a killing frenzy. In the snow there were signs of flapping wings in struggle, chicken prints and the prints of a fox following right along side.

Winslow Homer
Winslow Homer

This sort of thing happens often enough in life and it’s hard to find any beauty or shine in it all. People get crippled. Foxes go on feeding frenzies. Yet . . . in fiction (the kind I like) there’s hope. The wheelchair-bound athlete becomes a coach and sports agent. Gluck-Gluck the chicken manages an escape against all odds and maybe, just maybe the chicken sleeping next to the fire dies in peace instead of terror.

29 responses to “Quarterbacks and Chickens”

  1. Sorry about your chickens. Nature can be cruel. I once awoke to find two goats that were killed by a pack of dogs. And yes, real life, and wal-mart are hard enough.


  2. And the Fox went on another planet and met a little boy (prince?) and fell in love…
    Bonne Année and a Happy new year.


  3. Just read this–oh no!!! How terrible! And you have to clean it up–which makes it even worse. So many lost! I am so sorry you had to deal with this. And, of course, I know you loved them. I’m glad you still have Gluck-Gluck and the others. BTW, our ducks are still nervous about being outside ever since the hawk attack. They may be birds but they are smarter than many people realize and they have looooong memories, as it turns out. And, you do, too. 😦 This might be time for more cookies–although a switch to healthier would probably make you feel better, truth be told. Hang in there. 🙂


    • I like salads 🙂 I didn’t mention in the post that Sophie the duck was also injured. Our pond wasn’t frozen yet so when I saw her hiding under some long grass hanging over the water I just assumed she had been scared by the commotion (the pond is fenced in our garden). In the evening I saw that they were out of the pond waiting for me to bring them down to the chicken coop and that’s when I discovered that Sophie hurt her leg!
      Ferd did not want to be separated from her and I figured she’d actually be more comfortable in the chicken coop than if I brought her to the house.
      So for the last two days Ferd has been guarding her and snuggling with her as she mends. She’s still eating and yesterday she was moving around a bit better. Of course it has to turn super cold. BLAH!
      Our vet said chickens and ducks either mend themselves or they don’t. We had a chicken who broke her leg and completely healed in a few weeks. She limped for a while and then was fine. Until the fox got her!

      Thanks for the kind words.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s all perspective isn’t it? See like a bird rather than a human and the woods and fields are places of endless stabbing, impaling, squashing and mangling. Maybe we are in a galactic chicken coop and one day the fox will get in. Until then I will continue to love the Homer picture.


  5. I found ‘The Wire’ difficult to watch as well. That surprised me since I watched ‘The Sopranos.’ Perhaps a little too realistic for me. What can I say? I still like watching the early episodes of ‘The Waltons.’ I like a little heart – the world is often too much with us.


    • The Waltons’ theme song still chokes me up! I enjoyed the first few seasons of The Sopranos. Even though it was violent there was a lot of humor and it didn’t feel quite real. The Wire was different.


  6. Thanks for dropping by my blog and giving a read. I enjoyed your writing here but felt saddened by the news of your chicken attack. We lived on a farm for 10 years…some of the very best memories of my life happened there. I have this crazy love of cows and on the day we returned home to find one of ours drowned in the mud of our then vacant pigpen, I was devastated. The farm brought me to a place of a better understanding of life and death, all quite natural events there. BUT I didn’t have to like it and I didn’t! I miss the farm. Blessings to you all as you heal from this attack.


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