The Chicken (Rooster) that loved Fast Food

In 2002 my family moved to Fernandina Beach. Raised as Southerners, we were glad that my husband’s company had transferred us back to the South where we felt more at home than in the harried bustle of New York City. Still reeling from the events of 9/11, we felt a special quaint calmness here and we were looking forward to the change of pace.

After purchasing our home in North Hampton, almost all via the Internet, I arrived with a few suit cases to settle into my new beautiful but quite empty home waiting for the moving van to come with all our worldly goods.

I got up early on the day the van was to arrive, and since there was no food in the house yet, I decided to drive onto the Island and see what I could find to eat. I needed to be quick about it in order not to miss the arrival of the van.

So finding the Golden Arches I went through the drive-up and after placing my order pulled up to the next window. As I reached out my driver’s side window to accept my bagged breakfast I was almost startled by movement far below my out-stretched arm on the ground below. I looked down only to see a chicken, yes a living, moving, breathing, feathered hen, on the pavement at my driver’s side door. And what was she doing? Well, what does anyone do at a McDonald’s drive through at 7:00 in the morning? She was eating a breakfast biscuit!

I looked at the employee and said, “Did you know there is a hen eating a biscuit down below?”

“Yes”, she replied. “She comes every morning, early, for her biscuit. If we are busy and ignore her she will walk next door to Burger King and get her breakfast there.”

“You’re kidding? Where does she come from?” I asked.

“Well,” she replied, “some say they have seen her very early in the morning crossing the street from the empty lot on the other side of Eighth.”

I glanced across and saw the open lot that she spoke about and realized that there were at least four traffic lanes and two turn lanes that this hen must negotiate every morning without becoming buzzard breakfast herself.

“How long has she been doing this?”

“I do not know for sure, but I have been working here for four years and she has been coming since before I was hired on.”

I was utterly amazed and entertained. The only chickens I ever got to see in the City were hanging upside down in a window right along side the Peking ducks!

I recall thinking, “what a testimonial to the morphosis I was about to experience coming to live on Amelia Island”.

It has been nine years now since the day I saw the hen eating her breakfast. For a couple of years I continued to spot her there at Burger King, McDonalds or under the large old oak tree beside the restaurant.  I have not seen the hen for several years now. If you ask any long-term employees at either restaurant, they will tell you about seeing and feeding the hen.

It was Shrimp Festival this weekend. The population of Amelia Island burgeoned over those three days and it may have felt as crowded as New York City. But when every one goes home this is still beautiful, quaint Amelia Island, a place I have come to love. And it is the only place I know where one can truthfully answer the question, “Why did the chicken cross the road?” by saying “to get a fast food breakfast biscuit, of course!”

Jeannie Higginbotham, RN, BSN
Owner, Lashem-n-Leavem, LLC