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LETTER TO THE EDITOR: There's a conspicuouos empty spot in chicken church

“Well, Queenetta! I can’t understand it. Another dadblame dead chicken.” 

So began the play “A

Murder Most Fowl” in my year’s Effingham County Middle School stage production. It was a line that resonated deeply with me.

Soon after moving to Clyo, my mom built a chicken coop and filled it with chickens. I loved the chickens. They were a constant source of entertainment. They roamed the backyard getting into their petty squabbles, rabble rousing and generally enjoying their lives.

I had my very own hand raised bantam chicken that I called Mrs. Peepers. She was my constant companion.

But anyone who knows and loves backyard chickens understands the inevitable heartache that comes along. This is because chickens, while magnificent creatures, are not blessed with much in the brain department.

Along with being fairly stupid, they are also incredibly tasty. Needless to say, we’ve experienced our fair share of ways our beloved chickens were killed.

I couldn’t help but recall “A Murder Most Fowl” again when my family was struck by tragedy recently.

It was a normal morning in Clyo. Before leaving for work, my mom opened the door to her chicken church — a little spot of poultry paradise nestled among the pines just off Ga. Hwy 119 — to release her flock for the day.

A word about the chicken church — it’s a white clapboard miniature church complete with a steeple and stained glass. There is a bell in the front and a swinging screen door with fancy lattice work. It was meticulously crafted by my parents to house their beloved chickens after the old coup was irreparably damaged.

Their current flock is made up of different breeds of various shapes and sizes. Some are old and some are young.

 For the most part there is harmony. The rooster is kind of a jerk. One thing is clear, however. The chickens love their humans and the humans love their chickens.

Imagine the horror my mom felt when someone came speeding down Hwy 119, horn blaring, and plowed over her beloved chicken Cinnamon. 

My mom had crossed the treacherous highway to grab her mail and didn’t realize that the chicken had followed. Poor little Cinnamon didn’t stand a chance and her beautiful cinnamon red feathers were scattered all over the asphalt. 

Mercifully, it wasn’t my mother who found her way in front of that hapless driver. It was a tragic accident. One more animal casualty to add to the tireless list of roadkill on 119.

Another dadblamed dead chicken. Cinnamon was a good little hen. Most days she could be found alongside her best friend Penguin. She enjoyed a good dust bath in the afternoon and loved digging through the flowerbeds for bugs. She was just a chicken, but she lived life to the fullest.

The sun begins to set through the stained glass casting colorful glimmers all along the inside of the church. With a heavy heart for the family’s loss, my mom rings the bell to call her flock home to roost that evening. 

A hymn emittes from the little stereo and is carried off along the breeze. And the newly diminished flock begins one by one to settle on their perch with a conspicuous spot for a missing friend. 

Heather Rafter Feinstein

Redmond, Wash.

formerly of Clyo