The story you are about to read was told to my best buddy, business partner, and frequent co-coconspirator, Ralph E. King.
Ralph learned of this event over lunch with an 80-year-old lady with whom he worked during the first half of his 40 years-andstill running career in the coal industry. His former coworker told him the tale with a straight face and Ralph believes it.
However, the story involves some activity upon which a court of law might frown and it was told to Ralph only after he assured her that he would not mention her name if and when he retold it. So, in that amazing and often useful journalism tradition of not divulging the source of sensitive information, I feel an obligation to report this bit of interest.
Ralph’s friend, let’s call her Deep Chic, DC for short, was peacefully retired and living in a secluded area of rural Laurel County where she was surrounded by woods, had only one nearby neighbor and even his home was over 100 yards down the road.
Everything had been just fine for several years until one day when her neighbor bought a bunch of chickens and some chicken cages. He proceeded to place these cages under some trees right on their adjoining property line. That evening, at dusk, the chickens flew up into the trees to roost. But the next morning, instead of flying back down into their cages, the chickens headed for DC’s lawn and garden. By noon, they were all over her front porch, perched on the railing, on the banisters of her steps and even on the back and arms of her big oak swing.
DC said there were at least 20 of them, but they kept moving around so much that it was impossible to get an accurate count. They were making a horrible mess, pooping and shedding feathers all over her porch, on her steps and all over her yard. She tried shooing them off and chasing them with her broom, but they’d come right back as soon as she went in the house.
In the meantime, DC’s neighbor had seemingly disappeared. DC said he did not appear to be the most upstanding citizen in the county and she’d heard from another neighbor that he might be in jail for manufacturing meth, whatever that is. DC was scrubbing chicken mess off her porch and steps three or four times a day and raking it out of her yard. Some of them started laying little bitty eggs, too small to eat, in a big planter she had sitting beside the back door, so she had to gather them up and throw them in the garbage every day.
Finally someone told her that if she’d put out some rat poison, they’d get sick and go away. She went to the farm supply store and bought two quarts but the chickens gobbled it up and wanted more. Then she tried mole pellets, which only made them fatter. She poured more than half a gallon of antifreeze that she found in her garage into an old pan because she’d heard that would kill them. She set the pan out in the front yard and the chickens promptly turned it over.
“These chickens were working me to death and driving me crazy,” DC told Ralph. “So I decided to pray about it. I asked the Lord to do whatever He could to get rid of these chickens before they killed me.”
“ The next morning I heard a loud racket out in front of the house” DC continued. “I looked out the door and saw a little black and white dog with a chicken by the neck, but when he saw me, he ran off into the woods dragging that chicken.”
For the next three or four days it seemed like every time she turned around, DC would hear chickens squawking and when she’d look out the door that little black and white mongrel would either be chasing chickens or dragging one into the woods. By the end of the week there was not a chicken to be seen on her place, and the little dog was gone as well.
Old age, being what its, DC said she was so tickled with being chicken-free that she’d forgotten all about praying for the Lord to take them away until she drove 10 miles to church the next Sunday.
“I’d no sooner gotten out of my car when I saw that little black and white dog sitting there by the church steps,” DC said. “As soon as he saw me he held his head up high, cocked his tail, trotted across the parking lot and ran into the woods.”
“Now what do you make of that, Mr. King,” DC finally asked my buddy, Ralph.
That’s when Ralph called me. I don’t know what to make of it either.