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FYC-BYC paid a price for freedom

Live recklessly and die young — that was FYC-BYC’s (front yard and backyard chicken’s) credo, apparently.

Some readers are loyal FYC fans, so I’m saddened to report the untimely demise of my neighbors’ hen, the one I often chicken sat. I’m not trying to be humorous when I say we’ll never know the answer to why this chicken insisted on crossing the road when she had two large yards in which to scratch and flap, but we know a car did her in.

A couple days before her accident, I’d watched her straddling both lanes deliberating over which way to run as traffic from both sides stopped and waited. I feared the inevitable. The only answer would have been a coop. A coop? For FYC, the poster hen for free-roamers everywhere? Mere survival in penned-in quarters would have surely broken her spirit.

I’ll admit I grieved for FYC, cried even. She was a regular visitor. The absence of her was tough. Each day I’d look out the kitchen windows and watch for her movement next door. Eventually I’d pick her out, flouncing around, chasing off crows. For a couple of days afterward it was painful to look out. I’d see a warm-colored patch of sunlight and think for a second it might be her. Ridiculous? Go ahead and laugh, but when you’ve been homebound for much of nine months, watching a chicken with personality make the rounds and leave lovely green eggs becomes high entertainment and a bright spot to the day.

Just seeing her purposefully going about business amid the quagmire of these odd times made life feel less critical. It also informed me that just maybe my world had become a wee small. Dear FYC deplored the cold and rain. The upcoming winter months would not have been fun for her, and in the end, I know she’s better off.

I couldn’t go to the mailbox the day it happened. I was afraid of seeing evidence of her. Next day, I kept my eyes averted from the road. But there in my path lay one gold feather. I picked it up, figuring I should have it for my nature box. The other day, a pack of wild turkeys strolled through, but it wasn’t the same, and my neighbor encouraged them along with aid of an air gun.

By leaving us one week prior to the election, FYC missed out on her civic duty, thereby avoiding the feather ruffling that followed. We certainly had an election though, didn’t we? Or are we still? I’m not confident things will conclude before this publishes. I know I voted early and often. NO! Not really with the often part. Please don’t send FBI agents to my door, unless they’re single and handy with carpentry tools.

Election night, I watched as votes were tabulated and states awarded like the prizes they are. I marveled at the process as if seeing it for the first time. There may be kerfuffles and anguished cries from the dispirited, but the system still works.

There’s a reason why our democracy lives on, and it’s largely thanks to the ranks of men and women who have served and those who continue to serve. This Veterans Day I say thank you to past, present and future members of the military and their families. Veterans and veterans’ graves are visual reminders that freedom for all in this life is not free. We’re not subject to foreign domination or any despotic government thanks to those who dare to stand in the gap. This Wednesday I’ll fly my American flag no matter how I voted or how you voted, to honor the country that holds us. May we work together.

Correction: As much as I hate admitting it, an error occurred in my column about roundabouts two weeks ago. Marcus, an astute reader and someone who enjoys cruising the Midwest, informed me politely that the roundabout capital of Carmel is actually a town in Indiana, not California. Truth is stranger than fiction.

Peggy Dover is a freelance writer. Reach her at pcdover@hotmail.com.