Freeway Chicken

About a year ago I was driving to my main office, from Fresno to Madera, California.  I was headed north on Highway 99, a north-south “freeway” with two northbound lanes of heavy traffic and two southbound lanes running through the middle of the San Joaquin Valley.  The northbound and southbound lanes of this arterial highway are divided by a large dirt center median with oleander bushes running shoulder-to-shoulder down the center of the center median.  During the times of the year when the oleanders are in bloom, it’s quite colorful driving up and down the Highway 99.

This part of California is farming country, and mostly what you see as you drive through here are grape vineyards, fruit orchards, and nut orchards.  A lot of the farms have your typical menagerie of farm animals, like chickens.  As I was headed north on the 99, between the Avenue 9 on ramp and the Avenue 12 off ramp, right in the middle of the center median on the east side (northbound lanes), just clucking along and pecking contendedly away at the seeds and chicken-feed bounty in the dirt, was a red-feathered chicken.

I chuckled and shook my head and thought to myself “that chicken isn’t long for this world.”  Well, over the past year I’ve seen that same chicken periodically in the same general area of the freeway median, and I’ve thought to myself: “Chicken, you’re either really lucky, or you’re smarter than I gave you credit for, or some higher power has your red-feathered back.”

I headed for Madera this morning after a brief visit with Sue up in SAMC room 310.  Right after I hit the 99 North off the Avenue 9 on ramp I saw that freeway chicken again, contentedly pecking it’s freeway chicken-feed, and thought about Sue.  If that dang freeway chicken can defy the odds, why can’t she?