Nestled in a flower bed, a lone purple chicken keeps watch for evildoers and ill wishers.
It all started on a quiet Friday afternoon. It was one of those very rare times when all forces of the universe line up in perfect harmony
I had a most perfect cup of vanilla biscotti Kroger mix coffee, with my trusted cats, General Mosby, the Maine coon, and General Rommel, the Siamese, at my side. There was a most wonderful Southern breeze cutting across the front porch.
No one was cutting their yard. No human sound except my slurping coffee.
Of course, this couldn’t last. From out of nowhere the truck appeared pulling a 30 ft. wagon. This rig parked right in front of the house. Right away I knew something was up and about to destroy my very perfect afternoon.
A very firm male voice, bullhorn blasted out, “You the Potter for these chickens?”
Of course by this time the neighbors had assembled their lawn chairs, with their favored drinks and settled in to watch yet another the show on my front porch.
Throwing caution to the wind, I put the coffee cup down and moved toward the very large man.
As I and the two cats approached him, he looked down at us and thrust out a clip board. He spoke while handing me the clipboard.
“Says here that you have 35 chickens to take delivery of. Sign here and this is your copy of the bill.”
Staring at me were 35, tall, midsized and little concrete chickens. Some were 3 ft. tall, another group looked to be about 18 in. tall with several being only about 12 in. tall.
I turned to face the giant of a man before me.
“How much do you think the big one weighs?’’
Laughing he replied, “Hell, the big ones are about 100 pounds. The little ones are probably only 30 to 40 pounds.”
Looking at me, he immediately understood that there was no way I could easily move these creatures. He grabbed one of the big ones and took it to the front porch. Some forty minutes later, all of the concrete chickens were deposited on the porch.
The really big guy came to stand next to me, really close. As he did, I wondered how the world must look to him.
Smiling, he stated, “I just deliver. I don’t ask any questions.”
Fair enough, I thought.
Feeling like that moment in the beginning of a bar fight, timing is all too important not to considered each move, I swiped out a $20 dollar bill and said, “Just a little something to say thanks for your hard work.”
His giant arm and fingers gently took the $20. As in a ballet performance, his entire body pivoted on his toes, did a complete turn, gracefully flowed into his old truck. With gears groaning, truck moving, wagon now empty, all appearances of normal started to make their way back into my personal space.
Standing on the first step of my porch, I called “Her who must be obeyed at all times” and asked what I was to do with this situation.
Most men have honey do list that involve fixing something like the dryer or mowing the yard. My honey do list tend to be more like, “deal with the aliens landing, paint the chickens, and resolve world peace in our times.”
Her answer to my question was “Use your imagination. Be bold. Be finished by the weekend.”
You have to understand that this entire situation is due to the fact that she had come up with a civic and community idea of making money for the Hickman County Arts Council. The Arts Council would sell painted chickens as art for the Hickman County Chicken Festival.
Hickman County is the largest producers of chickens in Kentucky. We have some 200 massive commercial chicken barns. So, each year the county puts on a two day community party.
There I stood, along with General Mosby and General Rommel, looking at 35 concrete chickens. “OK boys any idea what color we should paint these suckers?”
Nothing. They both looked at me as if it was supper time.
Time to ask the computer what to do. Google had hundreds of images of painted chickens. Then, almost mystic in nature, one image stunned me, a large purple chicken. Deep within the British Empire there exists a 15 ft tall royal purple chicken. It was located in Trafalgar Square.
For historians, Trafalgar Square was military holy ground.
From a British travel book was this posting. “It is the famous place where the Nelson's column and the huge, majestic lions and the fountains are located.
Fifty six meters above the ground Admiral Lord Nelson surveys Trafalgar Square, the memorial to his great naval victory in 1805 (erected in 1843). The Admiral's statue looks toward the Houses of Parliament and is guarded by four magnificent bronze lions. These lions were made out of metal from guns taken from old battleships.”
A better statement about the Battle of Trafalgar was taken from an article that historian Andrew Lambert wrote in 2011.
“The Battle of Trafalgar was to witness both the defeat of Napoleon Bonaparte's plans to invade Britain, and the death of Admiral Lord Nelson. It was never going to be any ordinary battle, and quickly acquired a heightened, almost magical, reality.
During the engagement at Trafalgar, on 21 October 1805, the Royal Navy annihilated the greatest threat to British security for 200 years, but lost Britain's national hero in the process. Little wonder the battle transcended the mundane calculation of ships and men, victory and defeat. It guaranteed Britain's control of the oceans, the basis of her global power for over a century.”
Now, in the square dedicated to Lord Nelson’s victory over Napoleon in 1805, is a 15 ft. purple** chicken. (see editor’s note below)
It is a display of creative outdoor art.
Perfect! Now I had an idea of how to paint concrete chickens.
With the radio playing the Rolling Stones‘ “Satisfaction” and CCR’s “Proud Mary”, it was painting time.
Moving like the Swedish Cook in an episode of the Muppet Show, I attacked the task of painting my first chicken.
They say that at that point I ran out to the side walk and yelled, with arms and paintbrush held high above my head, “Lord Nelson has a purple chicken. We can have one in Clinton, too, by God!”
The neighbors retreated behind doors, leaving their lawn chairs tumbled about, not sure what was happening on Jefferson Street.
Later, when Mary got home, she found me standing over my painted work of art, mumbling something about the tourists coming up to take photos and that the city police were cruising by slowly.
Some say that I snorted too much of the paint fumes. Others just speculated that I had a seizure.
But I know that on the porch that day, a legend was born, the Legend of the Purple Chicken.”
Lord Nelson would have been proud!
**Editor’s ( aka “Her who must be obeyed at all times”) Note- I looked it up. The chicken in Trafalgar Square is not purple. It’s blue. Don’t tell the writer. No sense messing up a good story with facts. Besides, I like the purple chicken.