Don’t chicken out! by Arhonda Luman

Someone gave my mom five baby chicks when I was a child.  She took them, loved them and raised all five of them. They were her babies, and she treated them as such.  She mothered and protected them, but like all mothers, she no idea how good or how bad they would turn out to be. Though there were five, only two went down in history, Rojo and Silverlace.


Rojo rojo-and-the-ladieswas a beautiful bird with red-orange feathers that glistened in the sunlight like a new copper penny. He knew it too! His muscular body and booming voice caught the attention of every hen on the farm. He was cocky!   He strutted around the yard, making sure he bedazzled every one of the female chickens with his beauty.  After a while, his popularity went to his head.

He courted the ladies and made them swoon. He crowed when he wanted, and ate when he wanted and walked anywhere he wanted, without fear. In a nutshell, he thought he owned the land and all the lovelies that lived there.

Rojo was a fighter and whipped everything on our farm that dared to challenge his authority   If his challenger was a strong fighter and would not flee, he used his offbrojo-crowingeat sense of timing to catch his opponent off guard and  with a single powerful stroke, killed him. If the other rooster attacked first, Rojo used a fancy side-step, known as a vertical flyer, to counterattack. In the heat of the moment, he announced his victory by standing proudly over his deceased opponent and crowing loud enough to wake the dead.

With each victory, his self-esteem grew! He became the epitome of a bully. He loved to make a show of forcing other roosters to run away. Occasionally, If another rooster failed to pay proper homage, Rojo challenged him to a duel. His method of fighting a duel did not involve honor. He was a dirty fighter, and if he could, he used his long spurs to puncture the jugular vein in his challenger’s neck.

Silverlace was quite a spectacular looking rooster, but his self-esteem was lacking. As a matter of fact, he was so mild-mannered, everyone, especially Rojo considered him a sissy. He had well-honed survival skills, and was a master in the art of evasion, and hiding.  Totally non-confrontational and content to be alone, he moved away from the house and set up housekeeping at the dairy barn.  He ate free range and scavenged grain from the cow feed. On occasion, he sneaked into the pig pen to share sustenance with silverlacethem.

Those blasted pigs had given us fits. They got out of their pen all the time. Dad built a new pen, and they broke through it, he repaired it, and they rooted under it. Finally, he hooked a battery operated hot wire, up to keep them in. They broke it. He was beyond frustrated. He increased the current. Voilà!  It worked! Those pigs learned to respect that fence and finally they stayed in.

Dad cautioned us, “You kids stay away from the fence. It’ll knock your socks off!”

No problem there, we had all experienced being lit up by the electric fencing, and it wasn’t something we wanted to repeat. Unfortunately, no one told Silver lace about the hot wire.

One day, as Dad and I were at the dairy barn working, we watched Silverlace as he leisurely he walked up to the pig pen, just like he did every day.  He picked one foot up and placed it on the wire, leaving the other foot on the ground.

“SQUAWKKKKKK,” he screamed like a little girl when the electric shock hit him!

Every feather on him flipped up like a ladies skirt in a high wind. He shot up in the air about 5 feet, like he shot out of a cannon, did a somersault, flipped over backward then plummetted to the ground like a meteor. He laid there lifeless.

Incredulously, we watched this horrifying spectacle from the barn.

Dad looked at me and sadly said, “I think ole Silver got electrocuted.”

It hurt our feelings, but there was nothing we could do about it.  Nature had to take its course. It wasn’t feasible to call a veterinarian and pay a $50 office call for a fifty cent chicken. Then, the unthinkable happened. Silverlace moved.

While we stood gaping in shock, Silver stood up. He moved very shakily and very slowly. He staggered out away from the pen.  He was dazed, disoriented, and his equilibrium was affected.  We figured he would go ahead and die.



The next day, we were in the yard at the house and were astounded when we saw Silver Lace walking around in Rojo’s territory.  He wasn’t walking all stiff and clumsy like one of those zombies in a horror movie either. He reeked of confidence and power! We couldn’t believe our eyes.  Rojo couldn’t believe his either. He had conquered Silverlace and sent him to the barn, he thought, permanently. So he did the Rojo thing and spread his wings and tried to intimidate Silver. This time, Silver didn’t even give him time to jump. Silver sprung with the confidence of a champion. He hit Rojo with the force of a runaway locomotive, and knocked him end over end! With the element of surprise in his favor, and Rojo underestimating his opponent, it only took a second and Silver gave Rojo a lesson in humiliation. Silver crowed loudly and declared himself  the champion!

Karma visited Rojo and gave him what he had been dishing out. From that day forward, he left Silver alone. Now, Rojo was the sissy and all the ladies swooned over Silver Lace.

I suppose, there is a little of Rojo and a little of Silverlace in all of us.  Sometimes we need to be humble and sometimes, inspired!






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