Sunday, May 6, 2012

Perambulating poultry in Union

Okay ... confession time here: Ivan and I actually left New Jersey for a week. With tax season completed, he needed a break and who was I to deny that? And as he rationalized, we're always on the lookout for a little bit of New Jersey wherever we go. You never know what we'll find. The good thing is that now we'll have more time for exploration, birding and letting you in on what we discover.

In the meantime, I thought you might enjoy a little story from about 20 years ago that combines exploration and birding of a sort.

Not the chicken that crossed the road in Union.
I've mentioned that I grew up in Union, which, like many New Jersey communities, was once host to many farms. By the time I was born, though, most were gone, with perhaps small farm stores left in their places. One was still in operation on Stuyvesant Avenue in the late 1980s, right across from my bank, selling shrubbery, plants, gardening supplies and perhaps some produce. A cranky old rooster walked the grounds, unimpeded, despite the fact there hadn't been an actual farm there for many, many years.

One day I was driving to the bank when I saw the rooster standing on the yellow line in the center of Stuyvesant Avenue, frantically looking back and forth, perplexed. Not a sight you see very often in Union.

Aloud, I asked myself, "Why is that chicken crossing the road?"

I started laughing so hard that I had to pull to the side of the road. Fortunately, I came nowhere near the bird.

This story is entirely true. I swear. I even sent it to the New York Times for publication in its old New Jersey Diary section of reader recollections. A few weeks later, they published it, along with an editor's note: "Why did the chicken cross the road? To open a chicking account."

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